Hyatt "Lucky and Fortunate"

ATLANTA – Mitch Hyatt doesn't flinch when playing on a pivotal stage.

Sure, he's more quiet and reserved than your typical high school student – a gentle giant, if you will. But Hyatt displays a rugged force when he suits up for the consistently talented North Gwinnett Bulldogs.

Hyatt's first career start was along the Georgia Dome gridiron in last year's Corky Kell Classic. He replicated that feat in August, but this time as the state's top-ranked 2015 prospect.

"It was kind of crazy because his first ever start was at the Georgia Dome and that was a pretty big deal," Lisa Hyatt, Mitch's mother, said. "It was exciting and a little overwhelming. We all laughed about it."

Lisa has enjoyed watching Hyatt swell into a 6-6, 265 pound mammoth offensive tackle, one that has garnered multiple marquee scholarship offers. She added that Hyatt likely wouldn't have achieved the success he has without the support of the North Gwinnett program.

"We're so lucky and fortunate that he has the teammates and coaches he has," Lisa said. "That part has helped him and made him who he is."

Lisa said she long presumed that Hyatt would play college football, but was taken aback by how early he was courted by Division I schools, particularly because of his age. Hyatt and North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire attacked recruiting early by collating a plan to keep Hyatt from over exposure. The goal was to help Hyatt, a generally reserved student, enjoy his daily life fraught-free.

Some of the off-the-field extracurriculars Hyatt engages include intense marathons of FIFA 13 on Xbox, jamming to a variety of tunes – he used to play in jazz band – and the weekly night out with his buddies for ‘all you can eat wings.' At his core, Hyatt enjoys friends and football.

The Hyatt family values strong bonds and loyalty over all else, and put a hefty stock in tradition. Lisa said that she believes those qualities will be vitally considered when Hyatt makes college commitment.

"You're only as good as those you surround yourself with," she said.

The Hyatts visited quite a few schools this summer, including many in the South, such as Auburn, Clemson and Georgia. When they trekked north, however, to Lisa's home state of Ohio, they were profoundly impressed by what the Buckeyes had to offer.

"We've always liked Urban Meyer and what he stands for," Lisa said. "And when you're talking about tradition, you can't get much more than Ohio State."

The family also has ties to Clemson, where Hyatt's uncle, Dan Benish, won a national championship before a six-year stint in the NFL, which included a Super Bowl win with the Washington Redskins.

Hyatt's family, however, wants to impose no pressure on his decision. It's all up to him, they said.

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