Following a tough loss in which Crete-Monee gave up an uncharacteristic 61 points, defensive tackle John Mitchell knows that his team's poor start on defense cost them an opportunity against one of the state's best teams in Brother Rice.
"We just needed to come back together," Mitchell said. "We weren't really playing together and staying focused."
But Mitchell himself turned in a solid performance. The 6'3", 300 pound lineman was disruptive and made the interior run game difficult for Brother Rice. His improvement from last year is notable.
"I've been working on coming off the ball faster and being explosive," he said. "That and keeping my motor going throughout the play."
That hard work has paid off, and Mitchell has noticed a difference in his ability to get penetration and generate pressure.
"I think my best qualities are getting off the ball well and getting pressure on the quarterback," Mitchell said.
On the recruiting front, Mitchell hasn't been overly vocal about where things stand. However, with college football underway, he did indicate that he would like to begin getting to some colleges for games and visits.
"I'm keeping my options open and looking at all the schools," he admitted. "I'm wanting to get to any that I can get to."
One school that has been thoroughly involved in Mitchell's recruitment is the in-state Illini. Illinois offered Mitchell early in the process and are really targeting defensive linemen in this class.
"I'm looking at Illinois, and I want to get down there for a visit," Mitchell said. "I know they've been doing well because they have a good coaching staff now that's been around the NFL and have experience. Everyone's been keeping in touch with me, and I'm doing my best to keep in touch with them."
Mitchell is still working through the process, but says that he still mainly wants to find a school where he feels like he fits in well and is comfortable with the direction of the program.
"I'm still really looking at the same things in the schools," he said of his priorities. "I just want to feel comfortable with the coaches and the players and make sure I fit in the program."