"I did a lot of research," Mitchell said. "I took a lot of visits. Saw a lot of people. Shook a lot of hands. It comes down to this day. It's an important day in my life. I'm choosing Auburn University."
A frequent visitor to Auburn the last two years, Mitchell becomes Auburn's 16th public verbal commitment and the first since late August. He said there were several reasons why Auburn was his choice.
"It's a great school to be at," Mitchell said. "It's an honor school. I have a lot of family relations there. I know a lot of people there. I just felt at home.
"After doing all the research and traveling a lot I had a lot of things to weigh because so many schools have things in common. I just tried to find that it factor and Auburn had it."
Joined on the stage by his grandparents Mary and Rev. Earnest Mitchell, his brothers Darius and Brandon Mitchell, and coaches Jeff Thomas and Keith Etheridge, Mitchell said the support he received was important for him in his recruiting process.
At 6-1, 205 pounds Mitchell is athletic enough to return kickoffs for the Green Wave, but was forced to play mostly defensive line as a senior. While his team's chase for back-to-back state titles ended last week with a loss at Clay County, Mitchell has plenty of football left in his future as a linebacker for the Tigers.
Rated a three-star prospect and the number 42 outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com, Mitchell has long had the Tigers at or near the top of his list and he said his comfort level with Auburn was one of the biggest things he liked about the program. A big part of that is former Leeds teammate and current Tigers' freshman Jonathan Rose. Having him on the Plains has been big for Mitchell in his recruiting process.
"From his perspective I get to see how everything happens at Auburn University," Mitchell said. "It's good having someone you know in a place where you're not too familiar. Especially since it will be early for me coming in January and I'll have him to rely on."
Planning to graduate in December and enroll early at Auburn in January, Mitchell may have surgery on a shoulder he injured in week 11. If that is the case he may not be able to go through spring practice, but should be ready for the fall.
In 11 games as a senior at Leeds, Mitchell made 104 tackles with 19 sacks and 33 tackles for a loss playing mostly noseguard and defensive tackle. Leeds Coach Keith Etheridge said that just shows what kind of player and person Auburn is getting, an unselfish kid willing to do whatever it takes to win.
"For him to be 205 or 210 pounds and get down there playing against 280 pound guys every single week and take on double teams and split them and still make plays in the backfield, he's just an impact guy for us," Etheridge said.
"His speed, he's a 4.4 or maybe a high 4.3 guy. He verticaled 38 1/2 inches and won the state long jump last year. He's just one of those kids who makes an instant impact, not only on the field but off the field. He's a great young man."