Vashon Junior Mitchell Impresses At UI Camp

The Fighting Illini football team hosted a 7 on 7 tournament on campus recently. Much of the attention was paid to two strong-armed quarterbacks, but one rising junior was also impressive and is hearing from the Illini already.

St. Louis Vashon athlete Derrick Mitchell certainly passes the eye test. The class of 2013 wide receiver and cornerback recently took part in the Illinois 7-on-7 tournament with his high school teammates and was impressive. He liked the opportunity the camp presented for his team.

"See, I think we get to run routes and get used to our new quarterback because our quarterback graduated last year. It also gives us a chance to see what other teams bring to the table and how I can make myself better."

Mitchell is still developing his skill set and repertoire, but physically he already has the tools to be effective on the field.

"My foot speed and my knowledge of the game really help me out."

Already a fluid receiver, Mitchell still hopes to tighten up his game and work his way to another level.

I really want to work on my hands, my change of direction, and coming in and out of cuts better."

Vashon made it to the playoffs but exited early. Mitchell hopes his team can top their mark this coming season.

"We lost in the first round of the district playoffs by two points. I think we're hoping for a state championship."

With two years before college, Mitchell already has significant interest from some high-major schools.

"Wisconsin, Illinois. I got letters from Princeton and Kansas State too."

Mitchell's parents are right in the mix and will help him as his recruitment progresses. Parental support is invaluable to many recruits, and Mitchell is grateful for his parents' guidance.

"I want to see if they have what I want to major in because academics really come first before sports. That's how I was raised. I really don't know yet, but my dad said he'd help me out as I go along with my high school career."

Mitchell is new to the camp scene, but he has already turned some heads.

"This is my first camp, other than the Mizzou camp at DeSmet High School."

Illinois is already making a good impression on the rising junior. He's eager to find out more about the program.

"I really can't tell yet, but I'll be looking into it this year because this is one of the main schools recruiting me so far."

Illinois running back coach DeAndre Smith has a presence in the St. Louis area. Mitchell feels right at home in conversation with Smith already.

"I like Coach Smith. He's a real laid back guy. He's really smooth, and I like that."

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