Ernest Mitchell made University of Arkansas head football coach Houston Nutt and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker very happy late Tuesday afternoon.
That is when he told the pair of coaches that he had decided to foresake Florida State and Clemson and sign with the Razorbacks.
"They were all excited and jumping up and down and just really happy that I had made that choice," Mitchell said. "That made me feel even better."
Mitchell, a 6-1, 285-pound standout from Newnan, Ga., took visits to Arkansas and Florida State, but decided to cancel the one to Clemson and get his recruiting over with.
He said he actually made the decision Monday night, but wanted to surprise Rocker, who had worked hard to land his pledge.
"Coach Rocker is unreal, he's real straight forward," said Mitchell, who has recorded a bench press of 425 pounds and squats 540.
Mitchell know his future position coach is a former college star that won both the Outland and Lombardi Award while at Auburn and was on the NFL All-Rookie team with the Washington Redskins in 1990.
"Arkansas is just a great place with a great program," Mitchell said. "I think Coach Rocker could take me and make me a better player. He's been there and know what it takes to do it in a big way on the next level."
Mitchell added he enjoyed his visit to Florida State, but once he sit down and thought about it, he felt like Arkansas was the place for me.
"Florida State has a lot of defensive tackles they are recruiting and Clemson had already signed five," Mitchell said. "Arkansas said, ‘look you are one of our main guys, we want you bad and you can come get it done.' That made me feel good, I felt wanted and I am ready to be a Razorback.
Mitchell had 146 tackles, 10 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, and two fumble recoveries last season and hopes to see some action on the field for Arkansas next season.
"They told me that's what they are wanting from me," Mitchell said. "They think I am strong enough to come in and get time and make an impact right away if I will come ready to work. I will be doing that, I will work hard."
Mitchell said his family builds pools and he has benefitted from the hard labor growing up.
"I think I am pretty strong and have a great work ethic," Mitchell said. "I think that is going to help me up there at Arkansas and getting to work with Coach Rocker is just a great plus."
(Brett Bradley also contributed to this story.)
Ernest Mitchell's a proud Hog
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