He was recruited by Tom Osborne, after all.
Back in the day, as they say, over 20 years ago, Mario, also a cornerback like his son, got a visit from T.O. "Yeah, they recruited me back then. I ended up going to San Diego State, but I remember Tom Osborne coming to recruit me to Nebraska," he said.
Tom Osborne hasn't been in to see his son, Joshua, a 5-10, 180 lbs. corner out of Corona, California. But he's gotten the next best thing. "I have talked to Coach Pelini a few times," Joshua said of Husker Head Coach Bo Pelini. "He seems like a really down-to-earth guy, a laid back guy, but a good coach."
It's not surprising, the attention. After all, Mitchell is part of one of the top 4x100 relay teams in the entire state of California. So, you know he's got the speed. But that's not what Mitchell says makes him a quality corner. "I have good awareness. I'm physical, but I like studying the guys I am facing, figuring out what they are doing and using that against them," he said.
He gets plenty of tests in the talent-heavy state of California, but he gets plenty practicing on his own team as well. Going against fellow Division 1-A standout prospects, wide receivers Tyler Slavin and Austin Hill, with both going 6-3-plus, Mitchell says he learns how to defend the ever-increasing number of bigger receivers he has to face. "You have to be confident, but you to be smart, and part of playing guys that size is not letting them physically get the better of you," said Mitchell who grabbed one interception last season while totaling 33 tackles. "It's about watching their hands, their feet – just everything, so you can play off what they do and compete for the ball."
When it comes to Nebraska Mitchell obviously knows a bit from his dad and conversations with the Husker Head Coach. He doesn't care about distance, doesn't care about weather and said that academics and opportunity stand supreme. So, if he's jotting down places right now where he'd like to take his official visits when that time comes around, the big red is obviously toward the top of the list of priorities. "They have a big time program with a lot of tradition. And it looks like they have a solid academic program, too," he said. "So I definitely want to get over there to check it out."
UCLA is also another team he'd like to check out as it's been one he's followed for some time. But for now, though, those who have offered are the ones who get the most attention, and some for obvious reasons. "I want to check out Colorado State, because my brother plays there," he said of Immanuel, who will be going into his freshman year with the Rams. "Him playing there won't have an impact on my decision, though, because we played together most of our lives, and I have thought about just making my own way, establishing my own identity."
And San Diego State was the first to offer in addition to the obvious connection with his dad. So, they will get a good look, too. "It's a good school, and I know more about them than any other school. So I am obviously comfortable with that program," he said.
Don't expect a decision anytime soon, though, because this recruiting process will probably carry through the season and beyond. Unlike the recent trend of kids committing and still looking around and some committing to places they have never even seen, Mitchell says when he pulls the trigger, it will be for good. "If you are committed to a school and still looking, you aren't a commit at all. And if you haven't even seen the place, I don't see how you could ever commit in the first place," he said. "I'm definitely going to see these places first, and I am going to make really sure of where I want to go before I am even close to deciding.
"When I commit I'm done."
As for where Nebraska sits in his mind, he says it's easy to figure out. "Near the top, at the top with the others. I mean, it's Nebraska," he said. "But I have to check it out, get to know the coaches a little better and see it for myself. I'll be able to compare it to everyone else after that."