MITCHELL STUCK ON HEELS
First Colonial head football coach Sam Scarborough said Kahlif Mitchell has been enamored with UNC since he first laid eyes on the campus and football facilities.
"He just went down there and fell in love with it."
He liked North Carolina so much he used all his spending money to purchase numerous items of UNC apparel.
"Whatever money he took down there for that camp he spent it all on blue – hats, shirts, visors -- the works."
The other prevailing plus for UNC is that they never wavered on how they felt about Mitchell.
"They did more than just send him a letter," Scarborough said. "He definitely is sold on Carolina, if things can work out for him that is where he wants to be.
The biggest reason for that is UNC assistant coach Kenny Browning.
"Coach Browning stays in touch and Kahlif appreciates that and he knows the man is there for him."
Mitchell was at UNC for a one day mini-camp last spring when coach John Bunting spoke privately about the Tar Heels interest in him.
The way the North Carolina staff has handled Mitchell has outclassed any treatment he has received from other programs.
"He gets letters from Virginia Tech and Virginia -- they send about five pieces of mail everyday," Scarborough said. "Syracuse and WVU send stuff too, but its just mail.
"Carolina is the one who is really making an effort and doing the right things."
Denise Mitchell knows that her son's grades have kept many away. That is one reason she is impressed with the Tar Heels.
"UNC has never backed off and we like them because of that. They never stopped reminding him that he has to stay focused if he wants to go there. I like the fact that they didn't give up on him. They did a good job of not letting him give up on himself."
Mitchell said Browning, who calls him weekly when it is allowed, is one of the main reasons he buckled down in the classroom.
"He checks up on me [academically]. He asks how things are going for me in football. He is a nice guy. He came along and we connected and it's been very nice."
Mitchell said all he needs is one offer.
"I'm just waiting on the offer from them," Mitchell said. "I want to be a Tar Heel."
HE'S ONLY SEVENTEEN
Mitchell, who just recently turned 17, enjoys checking out fan web sites. He said he looks at what colleges seem to look for in recruits, and he also looks at school sites to see how strong their various academic programs are.
Mitchell wants to follow in his father's footsteps and enter the workforce as a lawyer after football.
"Something in athletics – maybe civil or criminal law," Mitchell said. "I'd like to combine those if I could."
Mitchell's dad is a lawyer in New Jersey and Kahlif and his mom moved to Virginia in 1998 after his parent's divorced. However, his dad comes to check on him every couple weeks.
Scarborough said you know when the elder Mitchell is in town.
"He really keeps tabs on him. You can tell he is trying even harder because he knows his dad is around."
A CHILD IN A MAN'S BODY
Scarborough said Mitchell is a young kid who looks like a man standing in front of you. Mitchell doesn't have the typical baby fat you might find on some 17-year-old kids. That can be attributed to his time spent in the weight room. In the past he only led on the field but now that leadership has carried over into the classroom.
"He has taken a greater interest in class and if he can help another kid, he does," Scarborough said. "In the past, some of the problem was his size and teachers are intimidated by him. Some I would say are scared of him even though he is a good kid."
Mitchell has been described as looking like Lawrence Taylor toward the end of his playing career with the New York Giants. That thought alone might put fear into some considering that Mitchell has just begun to realize his potential on the gridiron at age 17.
"He is applying himself now, he knows what he wants," Scarborough said. "The thing about him is that he is just a good kid, for a kid that big he has just a good heart and a good work ethic."
Scarborough describes Mitchell as a great athlete with good speed for his size. This year he has seen action at four positions – including running back.
PUT ME IN COACH
Mitchell has played tight end, defensive end, defensive tackle and running back this season. He has rushed for 30 yards on five carries. He tallied three sacks two weeks ago and has a total of nine in seven games this season.
Scarborough said he first used Mitchell in the backfield as a motivational tool to get his team going.
"He has done well with it," Scarborough said. "He has good soft hands and he catches well. He can tackle well when he is on defense also."
Two weeks ago, Mitchell cost his team 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. However, the penalty didn't quite fit the crime.
"The ref told me he didn't have to tackle the kid so hard," Scarborough said. "I told Kahlif I will take that kind of penalty."
Mitchell's Stats (6-6, 280):
Bench – 330
Squat -- don't max out
Power Clean – don't max out
40 time -- 4.7
Pro Shuttle -- 4.3
NOTE: Finished in the Top 10 in both the discus (2nd) and shot put (4th) last year as a junior in his first season in both.