Mitchell Re-Focused & it Shows on the Field

USF WR Carlton Mitchell has led the Bulls in receiving the last two weeks with 10 receptions and 167 yards and is looking like a much improved player than we saw last season.

Bulls junior WR Carlton Mitchell continued his hot start this season against Western Kentucky, finishing with 130 yards on 4 receptions, and likes what the offense is doing on the field so far this season.

"Everything is going great," said Mitchell. "We're all on the same page, and I really can't complain about anything."

Mitchell also showed his big play potential by hauling in passes of 50, 65, with both leading to touchdowns. The first long pass came during the Bulls second series on a 3rd and two from their own 49, when Mitchell caught a 50-yard pass from Matt Grothe and was ruled out on the 1-yard line, but Mitchell thinks they got it wrong and scored on the play.

"A matter of fact I know I got in," said Mitchell. "I saw it on replay and a few of our players and coaches saw it too, but it is what is, and we scored anyway, so it's all good."

After Mitchell's 65-yard run to the 7-yard line the Bulls lined up in their ‘Toro Loco' formation and Carlton didn't touch the ball, but was instrumental in the scoring play.

"We faked it to Carlton Mitchell, and with his speed everybody is going to run with him," said B.J. Daniels. "I happened to keep the ball, hit the outside, Matt threw a great block and I scored."

Carlton has led the Bulls in receiving the last two weeks with 10 receptions and 167 yards and now has 1,109 receiving yards, making him the 8th player in USF history to pass the 1,000-yard mark. So far Carlton is looking like a much improved player than we saw last season.

"A lot of it has to do with what I did this offseason, the personal work-outs, and training I did on and off the field," said Mitchell. "I'm improved both physically, mentally and I understand the game better now."

As a redshirt freshman Carlton caught 37 passes for 537 yards and four TDs, but those numbers took a dip during his sophomore campaign, and he finished with 28 receptions for 405 yards and only 1 touchdown. At times it looked like he wasn't the same player, not running his routes properly, deep enough, crisp enough or simply running the wrong play. During the 2008 training camp Carlton had a hamstring issue and a few minor injuries, but he says that his problems were more mental and distractions off the field were the real culprit causing him to lose focus.

"Last year, I know I hurt the team a lot. I made a promise to myself and my teammates that it wouldn't happen again," said Mitchell said. "Outside distractions, little stuff, I kept messing up, and I know it made a big impact, and it probably cost a few games. It hurt me, and I think about it almost every day. That's why I go so hard."

Mitchell says he put all that behind him and worked the hardest he's ever worked this offseason, hitting the weight room hard, gaining muscle mass, working on his flexibility and spent time learning coverage's in the film room with Coach McGeoghan and all of that has helped.

"I feel great and am the most focused I've ever been," said Mitchell. "But I' still got some improving to with my blocking. I'm not perfect yet, but I'm much better than I was last year." . Mitchell's has always had speed, but his improved ball skills and focus hasn't gone unnoticed by either his teammate or his coaches.

"He worked hard all summer, and has stayed focused. He's done some of the same things in the first two games as he did last year with his speed. You've got to respect his speed. He can run as good as anybody out there. There's nobody out there that's going to be any faster than him." --Head Coach Jim Leavitt.

"In critical situations Carlton came up big and showed his speed. He did some great things and that big for his confidence, because he's a kid that needs to play with a lot of confidence and he executed well. I'm really pleased with how he's preparing and practicing. I think he's eliminated the distractions and realizes that he has to focus on him, not the crowd, and listen to the coaches, and that's what he's done. I'm very proud of him." --Offensive coordinator Mike Canales

"I think the biggest thing is his confidence is up honestly. He has always had the tools to play. He just gets down on himself sometimes. He has done a good job of making plays this year so far. He is doing a really good job when he gets the ball in his hands out in space and he shows what kind of speed he's got." --Bulls QB Matt Grothe

Mitchell has put in the work this offseason, is a completely more focused football player, and so far it shows.

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