Jared Mitchell came out of Parkway Central High School in St. Louis, MO, as a lightly-recruited wide receiver/defensive back, but he had a dream and knew a way to reach it.
"I was a full qualifier, but I only drew attention from some small schools in Missouri because of my size, I think," said Mitchell. "I'm 6-3 and fast, but I was thin and not strong enough.
"I decided I could go to Hargrave for a year, bulk up, learn more about the safety position and earn a scholarship to a bigger school."
That's exactly what took place.
Mitchell, who claims a 4.4 40 time, went from 175 pounds to 190 pounds - and climbing - and with some "bigtime hits" and Coach Robert Prunty's recommendation, Mitchell started getting recognized by Clemson, Auburn, Hawaii and Ole Miss.
"Coach (Houston) Nutt called Coach Prunty about some players (Enrique Davis and Andrew Harris) at Hargrave and I guess they started talking about me too," Jared said. "Coach Nutt saw some film on me, called me and offered me a scholarship. I was just about to set up some other visits, but I had reached my goal so I decided to accept.
"Ole Miss is closer to home and it's in the SEC. That's what I wanted."
Due to being a full qualifier out of high school, he could transfer to a college from Hargrave at semester break, which he has opted to do. He will enroll at Ole Miss on Tuesday.
"I wanted to be able to go through the offseason and through spring training," said Mitchell, who will have 5 1/2 years to play 4. "I'm very excited about Ole Miss and about the opportunity. I like the family atmosphere and the facilities."
Mitchell played safety at Hargrave because that is what he projected himself to play in college.
"I got a few starts and rotated a bunch last season," he said. "I got in a lot of good hits and felt I competed well against a lot of great athletes."
It did not come as a surprise to him that he received a scholarship offer from an SEC school.
"I don't want to sound cocky, but I expected it. You can't teach speed and height. I know I'm good enough and I know I can play on the Division I level," he stated. "All I have to do is keep working on my strength levels and learn what I have to do.
"I love the contact part of football. Love it. I played some outside linebacker in high school because I was physical enough to handle it. I have very good speed and a good vertical. My speed and height are my main attributes. I just need to work on my leverage and strength."
Mitchell's goal is to reach 200 pounds before spring training, which he believe is very attainable.
"Jared is a kid who is still developing but has a great deal of potential," said Prunty. "You can see his athleticism instantly, in person or on film. He likes to mix it up. He made a good decision coming to Hargrave so he could mature some physically. He's bright and catches on quickly. And he's got 5 1/2 years to play 4. It's a perfect fit for him and Ole Miss."
Jared Mitchell -
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