Participating in the PNC Big 33 Football Classic is the final tune-up for Kyle Mitchum of Erie McDowell High School before he begins his career at Ohio State, and he certainly looks like he's physically ready to take on the final test.
"Being here is just getting all of us Ohio State guys ready for being down there in Columbus. Physically, we're all good and we're all ready to go," Mitchum said. "Myself, I was down there for a month already, and that just got me excited and messed with me because I'm just really ready to play down there."
But first, Mitchum is more than happy to don a Pennsylvania uniform for the final time and play with some of the best talent in his home state.
"The talent is great here," he said. "I played in the US Army game and there was a lot of talent there. I've played with James (Bryant) and Chad (Henne) down there too. But we already know a lot of the players here, and everything is just coming together, and I expected everything to be like this."
Mitchum didn't, however, expect to play left guard when he first came to Hershey, but he's okay with that now.
"Down at Ohio State, I'm expecting to play guard there, but over here I'm playing on a different side," he said. "In high school I played on the right side but I played tackle. It really doesn't matter to me because I know, down at Ohio State, that they're going to play me everywhere. So I'm just getting ready to playing any position to get the feel of playing anywhere and pulling more and everything like that."
Kyle Mitchum with Pennsylvania and future OSU teammate Jon Skinner
In the Army game, Mitchum played guard so he already has logged game time at the new position, albeit on the right side in that game.
"I have a little experience with playing guard, but we're pulling more here and it's just another step for me and another change to adjust to," he said. "I'm totally ready for playing guard. I have no problem playing there and I'm ready for it."
Mitchum will line up next to Jon Skinner at left tackle in the Pennsylvania All-Star offense providing a potential glimpse into the future at what the left or right side of the Buckeye offensive line could look like in a couple of seasons.
"That's another thing that I'm really happy with about this game. Jon Skinner wasn't down at Ohio State the full time a bunch of us were down there, so I'm glad that he had the chance to get picked up for this game," Mitchum said. "He's a great kid and we work together well and we're really clicking. I'm really looking forward to having him be a part of the team down at Ohio State."
And Rory Nicol is likely to be positioned next to Skinner on occasion giving the Pa. team an all-Ohio State left side of the line.
"That's a great combination," Mitchum said. "Rory is a great kid and he was down there that full month as well. Me and Rory just clicked right away. We really didn't know each other, and I didn't know Skinner either, but now we're all just really clicking together. I could even see it down at Ohio State playing us three together side-by-side, that would be awesome."
Having a buddy to share his game experience is an awesome thing for Mitchum as well.
"It just puts a smile on all of our faces. We're glad to have them here," he said. "I work at school with them, and my coach's son has some disabilities so I'm around it all the time. Those kids just put a huge smile on my face. I really like working with kids like that. They really look up to us so much and they're happy just to be here around us and be a part of the Big 33."
In the end, Mitchum wants to share a victory with his buddy over his Ohio counterparts. The consequences of a loss are too daunting.
"Chad (Hoobler) and Ben (Person) and all the other Ohio guys are great, and I want to wish them the best of luck in the game," Mitchum said. "But I'm a Pa. guy. I'm from Pa., and this is still high school right now, and I don't even care about Ohio right now. And this game is big because we lost last year and I don't want us to have another loss.
"Besides, this game is the next four or five years of my life because I'll be hearing it for the rest of my life down at Ohio State. So this will be a big game and we will definitely all take it serious."
Kyle Mitchum with his Big 33 buddy