Perhaps ND Will Join The Cluster

Before this fall, Terrence Mitchell had heard of Notre Dame, but besides that, he didn't know much else. Former Notre Dame cornerback Preston Jackson has since enlightened his young pupil.

Terrence Mitchell played receiver on the Hillsborough Senior High varsity his freshman and sophomore seasons, before going both ways this past fall as a junior. Jackson, who in his day was a standout cover corner at the same Tampa school, played his college ball in South Bend from 2000-to-2004.

"He exposed them to me," Mitchell said. The four-star prospect is's fifth-ranked cornerback in the country. "I know he played for them, and he went there and had a pretty good time there."

Mitchell and Jackson haven't gone in-depth about Notre Dame yet, but perhaps they will have a reason to soon.

Already holding scholarship offers from Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, Ole' Miss, South Florida, Duke and New Mexico, the Irish coaching staff recently asked for transcripts for the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Mitchell.

"I'm getting a lot of interest from them right now," Mitchell said. "They got my transcript, and now I'm waiting to see if they're going to offer me, so I can start seeing if I'm interested, I'm interested in them, but when they offer me, I can start grading their school and look at their graduation rate and how I fit in their scheme."

Mitchell is already hearing some of the right answers from Notre Dame.

He keeps in regular touch with Irish assistant coach Tony Alford through emails, and has asked a few questions.

"I asked him how did he feel about playing freshmen, and about their graduation rate," Mitchell said. "He told me they are in the top five for graduation rate in the NCAA, and he said if you can play football and you're good, and you can do your thing at school, you'll start."

Mitchell is certainly doing his thing on the prep level. Playing both safety and cornerback this past fall, he had 43 tackles and two interceptions. Mitchell wasn't sure of his offensive stats, other than the fact that he used his 4.49 second speed in the 40-yard dash to score four touchdowns.

Most college programs are recruiting Mitchell as a cornerback, but Duke and South Florida say he could end up on either side of the ball. Mitchell likes the idea of both. As far as favorites go, Mitchell doesn't have a leader right now.

"I have a cluster that I'm looking at the most," Mitchell said, later adding that Notre Dame is not in that group.

"Because they haven't offered. As soon as they offer, they'll be in the cluster."

A standout in track, Mitchell would like to possibly do both on the next level. So far, he's only been able to visit the campuses at Florida and South Florida, where his cousin Lindsey Lamar will play football. He plans to see Florida State for the first time over his spring break, and doesn't anticipate making any college decision until he takes all five of his official visits.

"I want to know the school's graduation rate for their football players," Mitchell began. He has a 3.1 GPA. "I want to know how they feel about playing incoming freshmen. I want to know how I'm going to fit into their scheme and how they play.

"It doesn't matter to me if I stay in Florida or leave the state and go out to California. I could go anywhere, it really doesn't matter to me."

Despite never playing defensive back before, Jackson quickly realized he had a special talent in Mitchell.

"The first time I lined up, he just told me to play," Mitchell remembered. "He said I'm a natural. He said there is little stuff I have to do with my technique."

One of the many things the two will have to talk about this summer and fall. Top Stories