“They toured me around the school, showed me how everything worked, and then offered me at the end,” Mitchell said. “It was a great experience. I loved it up there.”
Despite being just a freshman a few months removed from his first season of varsity ball at Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside, Mitchell boasts an impressive scholarship offer list. Clemson, Duke, East Carolina, Florida State, NC State, South Carolina, Virginia, and Virginia Tech have all offered the 6-foot-2, 211-pounder.
One of Bayside’s coaches arranged to take Phillip Patterson, a 2016 wide receiver, to UNC’s scrimmage on March 28. When Mitchell learned of the trip, he asked to tag along.
“I’ve always watched them play on TV,” Mitchell said. “They’ve always been a team that I’ve been interested in playing for… It’s a very good school – one that I wouldn’t mind attending.”
Once the scrimmage ended, Patterson and Mitchell were given a full campus tour and spent time with the UNC coaches. Mitchell couldn’t help but read into the hints the Tar Heel coaches were throwing his direction.
“I tried to not get my hopes up,” Mitchell said. “They kept saying that they would love for me to play for them – that gave it away right there.”
During a meeting in Larry Fedora’s office, which concluded their stay, Mitchell received the offer.
“He said that he doesn’t usually offer a lot of ninth graders, but he liked the way I play,” Mitchell said. “And he says he sees the potential in me. So they offered me a scholarship.”
Prior to meeting with Fedora, Mitchell met with Larry Porter, who recently assumed the Tidewater Area as one of his recruiting territories.
“We talked about the environment in Virginia Beach,” Mitchell said. “I told him we have a lot of talent in the 757. Kids there want it – they want to go to college and play in the NFL.
“We then talked about football, social media – stuff like that.”
UNC projects Mitchell to play middle linebacker within its newly installed 4-3 defense. That’s the same position he started for Bayside last fall. He ended that season with over 90 tackles, five forced fumbles, and an interception.
“I told [UNC] I really liked hitting,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell plans to return to UNC in June for a camp.
“I’m hoping to learn more about the academics, because academics are big to me,” Mitchell said. “I’ve got to have my academics, because football isn’t always going to be there. So I want to learn more about the academics and the school history.”
South Carolina and Virginia are the only other schools that Mitchell has visited. In addition to a return to UNC, Mitchell hopes to visit Florida State, Maryland, and NC State this summer.