Mitchell “Unbroken”

ATHENS - If things had gone as Malcolm Mitchell had envisioned, the Georgia wide receiver figures he likely would have already been playing in the NFL.

A torn ACL sustained in the first game of the 2013 season changed all that and even after getting back on the playing field this season, Mitchell made the decision that he’s still not ready for the NFL.

A lot of thought went into it. He made a list of pros and cons on whether to stay or go.

An important factor to return as a senior, he said, was finishing up his undergraduate degree, something the Communications Study major said he will do after next semester.

“I don’t think the NFL plans on shutting down anytime soon,” he said.

Mitchell, who had 85 catches for 1,237 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons before the ACL injury, said he felt fine health-wise as he finished up the regular season and he thinks he would have been ready to train like he needed to for the NFL if he did decide to turn pro. He said he sought out a draft grade and said his decision is now final.

His priorities now post-injury are different than they were before.

“After that, I grew up and started thinking differently in certain areas and school was one of those things,” said Mitchell, who after Thursday’s practice carried with him the Laura Hillenbrand book “Unbroken” that he is trying to finish before the movie comes out next week. “Coming from not a financially stable home, the first thing in your mind is to make the most money you can, no matter how much it is, just make the money so you can take care of your family but there are ways of going about it for long term and short term. You can leave out early and make the money, but it probably won’t be a long term process as if you stick around and get a little more educated.”

He wants to play football as long as his body will let him, including in the NFL, before earning an income outside of the game.

Mitchell is third on the team this season with 28 catches for 229 yards with three touchdowns despite only playing eight games after having his knee scoped prior to preseason practices.

His longest reception this year is only 23 yards, but he said he “I don’t think I’ve lost any explosiveness.”

He’ll get a chance to show that against Louisville and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham in the Dec. 30 Belk Bowl.

Mitchell played some games at cornerback for Grantham, but mostly went up against his guys in practice.

“When he was here, I teased him in practice,” Mitchell said. “Just making plays on his defense.”

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