Beavs climb ladder of 4-star prospect

THERE COMES A MOMENT in every recruiting process where a tipping point takes place. For 4-star defensive back prospect Lance Mitchell out of Pasadena's Muir High, it may come the second week of December, when he'll be on his second roundtrip plane ride in as many weeks. That may be when he decides in his mind where he's going to spend the next 4-5 years of his life -- Oregon State or Arizona.

Mitchell said Oregon State asked for him to come in on his official the weekend following his scheduled trip to Arizona. As such, he'll visit UA next weekend (Dec. 2) before tripping to Corvallis on Dec. 9.

Both schools are showing him plenty of the recruiting love as Mitchell heads into what could be the final weeks of his recruiting process.

"It's been pretty good (contact) between Oregon State and Arizona, although with football and school, I miss a lot of calls," said Mitchell.

Mitchell and Muir face Colony in their own Civil War of sorts tomorrow in a quarterfinal playoff matchup. The 6-2.5, 187 pounder will likely play defense at the next level but because of his athleticism, he's playing QB and S/LB this season after his star turn at DB/WR his junior year.

Mitchell has thrown for over 1421 yards passing and another 229 rushing according to one media source, while reports he's cleaned up on 80 tackles this season.

"He's the leader of this team," Muir coach Ken Howard emphatically told the Pasadena Star News. "The guys on this team look up to him and look to him for leadership."

SOME QUARTERBACKS don't want to play anything else, and dream of lining up under center at the college level. Not Mitchell.

"I think quarterback is probably taking away from what I want to do on defense," said Mitchell. "But it's all to win, that's the most important thing."

On defense, Mitchell has also been moved out of his comfort zone for the good of the team, moving from his natural safety spot and down into the box at times.

"I've been going down to linebacker a lot," said Mitchell.

Next year, he'll likely be cracking pads only in the defensive secondary although some believe he would make one heck of a receiver at the next level. He's a big hitter on defense and a sure tackler, not always two things that go hand in hand. Mitchell is ranked the No. 29 safety prospect in the nation, and if that designation was broken down into strong and free categories, he'd be rated higher still.

WHAT THE DECISION will come down to are the visit experiences, Mitchell said.

Arizona was the slight leader about a month ago but OSU has closed the gap to where it's virtually a dead heat.

Mitchell noted Arizona has a warmer climate, and he has a really good relationship with Oregon State coach Nigel Burton. He's struck a chord with coach Williams at Arizona, and the prospects for playing time at Oregon State are enticing.

Two weekends in December. One to Arizona, one to Oregon State. The one he feels most comfortable on will probably be the one who gets a verbal commitment from the highly regarded prospect.

"I know I really want to make a decision, and I really want to take those two trips -- that's pretty much going to decide it," said Mitchell. "They're real close."

Lance Mitchell profile and video

Mitchell racked up 110 tackles as a junior, with 80 tackles his sophomore season.

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