Local 'backer gets dream offer

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Just a week after Butch Jones and the Tennessee coaching staff received a commitment from four-star safety prospect Todd Kelly Jr., they found another local talent roaming the halls at Webb (Tenn.) School of Knoxville.

Rising junior and inside linebacker prospect Brant Mitchell is a perfect example of a local boy that the Vols coaching staff wants to keep local.

"I grew up watching Tennessee and I have always been a fan," Mitchell told InsideTennessee. "When I got offered I was just so surprised. Coach (Mike Bajakian) has been my recruiter and it has been good getting to know everyone over there. It gives Tennessee a bit of an edge since I grew up as a fan."

The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder played a key role in Webb's 2012 TSSAA Division II-A state championship, contributing 10 tackles and one tackle for loss on defense and 48 yards rushing with a touchdown on offense. Now, Mitchell wants to focus on improving his 4.7 40-yard-dash speed heading into his junior season.

"Right now I really want to improve on my speed," he said. "My strength right now is run defense. I just really like to defend the run game. I still need to work on my pass coverage a bit too."

One thing that helps the Vols is having Kelly in Mitchell's ear about the Vols, but it isn't all pressure, just talk.

Mitchell is already starting to familiarize himself with the recruiting side of things by visiting college campuses.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)
"Todd talks to me all the time about Tennessee, but he is pretty laid back about everything," Mitchell said. "He tells me to make the right decision for me. I am just trying to keep my options open."

Going forward academics will play a major part in Mitchell's recruitment, which he says is the key to life after he hangs up the pads for good.

"First of all, I want to go where God wants me to go. I need to pray about it," he said. "After that, academics are very important to me. After I am done with football academics are what will really be important. I want to go somewhere with a good football atmosphere too."

Tennessee will also have some in-state competition from SEC neighbor Vanderbilt, who offered the state champ just a week after he got his first offer from the Vols.

"Vanderbilt actually offered me about a week after Tennessee," he said. "I went over there for a junior day and I had a really good time. I have been talking with them quite a bit too. I am going to the Gold & Black game this Saturday."

Mitchell couldn't be more excited for the opportunity to play in a conference that has produced the last seven consecutive BCS National Champions.

"It is every kid's dream to play in the Southeastern Conference," he said. "They are definitely the best conference right now with the best competition. I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to play in the SEC. That was big for me to get SEC offers."

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