Snow O-lineman Receives Coveted BYU Offer

Top-ranked Snow College will face Butler Junior College in the upcoming Top of the Mountains Bowl (Dec. 1) to determine who will become the national champion. BYU fans already know of current Snow stars and BYU commits David Hola and Coleby Clawson, and could become very familiar with another.

He started out as a tight end but grew himself into a 6-foot-5-inch, 305-pound starting offensive tackle for the nation's top junior college. Andrew Mitchell is now firmly on the BYU radar.

Mitchell said he lifts 225 pounds about 30 times in the weight room on the bench, and squats about 525 pounds.

Snow will play Butler Junior College in Salt Lake City on December 1 for the national championship, and although this is his first year playing offensive tackle, Mitchell has had a very productive season.

"Well, this has been kind of a transition year for me," said Mitchell. "I've come into the season with the mentality of just attacking the opportunity rather than being passive about it. I came in just wanting to really learn the offensive line technique, and really learning that left tackle spot, which really is the premiere position on the offensive line.

"You have the responsibility of guarding the quarterback's blind side, so I took it upon myself to make the position as comfortable as possible, and I feel that we as an offensive line have come together really well. If you look at the stats, we've been very effective in rushing the ball, which opens up the play action pass that we've ran very effectively as well. We have a really good quarterback and two really good running backs. I think we are about 75 yards away from having two 1,000-yard rushers [Soni Sotele and Niu Takai]. I don't think that has ever been done at the junior college level. I think that speaks for the o-line in general."

Helping Mitchell in establishing Snow as a junior college powerhouse this year are two current BYU commits, Coleby Clawson and David Hola.

"Hola is a really good player and is really quick off the ball," said Mitchell. "He's got that prototypical defensive body, being 6'2", 300 pounds. He's just build for defensive tackle and he has the athleticism to get off the line and move quickly. Yeah, he's tough. I don't go up against him much playing the offensive tackle position, but in one-on-ones he's really tough. We have some really good d-ends that I go up against though."

One such player is Clawson, who is projected to play as an outside linebacker for the Cougars next season.

"He's a little undersized at the d-end position, but what he lacks in size he makes up with athleticism and with his motor," Mitchell said. "He is just constantly, constantly going, and he just loves to play football and plays it with a lot of emotion. He's a top player and someone you want to have on your team. I was going up against him the other day and it's always a challenge. He's made me a better player, being that I'm a first-year guy at this position. I think BYU got a real steal in him and he'll be great at whatever position they play him at."

Recently, both Clawson and Mitchell paid a visit to BYU when both junior college athletes received their scholarship offers.

"It's a compliment to me because BYU is such a unique place," said Mitchell. "When you get an opportunity like that from BYU, and the kind of caliber of programs they've had over the years, it's definitely flattering. They have great coaches there and I've had the chance to kind of sit down and get to know them as people outside of football. They not only have great football knowledge, but they've gotten where they are at because they care for more than just football. They care for their kids and teach them about life, and, like I've said, it's a unique opportunity. It's exciting."

Mitchell understands that the unique recruiting of BYU is due to the philosophy of BYU's coaching staff, a philosophy that differs from any other Division I coaching staff in college sports.

"Their approach as far as recruiting is a little different," said Mitchell. "They don't just base their recruiting on just your on-the-field performance…I mean, everyone watches your film and can determine if you are capable of playing at that level, but on top of that, BYU takes the time to figure out if you're the right person to fit the program [and] that can contribute in other areas, as well as…represent BYU.

"They want those in their program, whether they are scholarship kids or walk-ons, that want to be there, and it shows in the way that they are recruiting. They're not going to put out a bunch of smoke and mirrors to try and get you to commit. They're going to explain the opportunities that are there and explain what BYU has that no other school has, and it shows up on the field and the product that they put out. The coaching staff is made up of high-character individuals, and it shows by how the kids play every Saturday."

So what kinds of things is Mitchell looking for at the Division I level?

"Honestly, with all the hard work that I've put in to make the move to left tackle and [the work I've put in] throughout my entire life, I want to be in a position where I can contribute right away," said Mitchell. "I only have two years to play two, and so I have a short window to succeed and reach other goals. I want to go to a place where I can start right away. Right now I feel there are a number of schools where I feel I can do that. Most of the schools I'm looking at education-wise are very similar, so I'm looking at the opportunity to come in and contribute right away.

"I think overall you just have to basically feel it out. You have to see the type of players that you're going to be around and the type of coaches that are going to be your mentors. I want to be sure that I'm around guys that I get along with and feel comfortable being around. You want to surround yourself with people that are going to help you grow as a player and as a football player, so those are the kinds of things that I'm looking for when I go on trips and met with coaches and players."

Mitchell, who served in the San Bernardino, California mission, wants to study law in college. Currently he has a few scholarship offers from other big-time football programs.

"I actually came down to visit Arizona and [Arizona State] this [past] weekend," Mitchell said. "I did two visits this weekend down here in Arizona. I have three more visits set up [with and] offers from North Carolina State, Oklahoma State and Kansas. I have other offers, but those are the one's I'm considering visiting, but right now I'm just going to take some time to digest these two visits and determine if I'm going to take those other visits or not."

So what did he think of his two trips to Arizona and ASU?

"I got to go to the Arizona versus Oregon game last Thursday night, and that was a great game for them. It was very exciting and I feel they're on the upswing down there and should get things going in the next year or two. There are a lot of opportunities there as well, both on the field and with school.

"With Arizona State, they've had a lot of success this year on the football field, and so that's exciting. The coaching staff has a wealth of knowledge and experience, and Coach Erickson has had a lot of success at the different places he's been. It's also a beautiful place with great weather. [It's a] beautiful campus and they have a great public law school there. This is going to be a really tough decision and will probably be one of the toughest I've made in my life."

Being from Oklahoma, Mitchell has some interest in Oklahoma State.

"They're close to home and there are a lot of exciting things that they're doing there that I've been told about," said Mitchell. "They're getting new facilities and they're right there in the Big XII and they're doing well. I kind of feel they're on the upswing with what they're trying to do, and it's only 45 minutes from my house. The idea of having family and friends being able to come to my game is appealing. This is not going to be easy to figure it all out."

With all the opportunities that lie ahead of him, Mitchell is going to take his time, think it through, and maybe even petition for some help from above when making a final decision.

"My plan was to take all five visits, gather as much information as I can from people and on campus, feel it out, and then make a decision based on what's best for me," Mitchell said. "You really have to kind of - and I know this sounds bad - make a selfish decision. I'm going to be the one practicing with the guys every day. I'm the one that is going to be going to the school and having to work with the coaches, so you have to kind of make a decision based on what's best for you. I've already been spending plenty of time on my knees and that will continue."

At the moment, Mitchell doesn't have a favorite college. That will more than likely come once he has had a chance to go through his own personal decision process.

"I told everyone that I won't have [a favorite] until I've made all of my visits, and that's kind of how I look at it," said Mitchell. "I want to try and be unbiased and not be impulsive after making visits, so I've kind of approached things that way. So right now, I don't have any favorites in my top three."

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