X-Man Ready For Breakout Season

While the movie sequel to X-Men became a box office blockbuster this summer, the X-Man, aka Xavier Mitchell of Long Beach, Miss., is poised to become a top 10 hit this fall.

Mitchell, 6-4, 242, isn't exactly a mutant with super powers, but he's a bit of a physical freak with super potential. Mitchell has sub 4.8 speed, a 335-pound bench press, 535-pound squat and 34-inch vertical thrust. He averaged a double-double as a power forward for Long Beach High School and recorded 70 tackles, five sacks and an interception for the Bearcats while splitting his time between middle linebacker and defensive end in 2002.

"I had a pretty good season, it went pretty well," he said. "Football is my sport. The hard hitting and action is what I like about football. I'm a physical player and I get double-teamed a lot."

A starter since he was a 6-0, 200-pound freshman, Mitchell experience a growth spurt between his sophomore and junior season as he reached defensive end dimensions. He continued to play some linebacker last season, but has since gained another 15 pounds as he fills out his imposing 76-inch frame. He also spot plays some on offense, but is projects as a combo end in college where his services are already in high demand.

"Right now I'm being recruited by Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Alabama, Southern Miss, LSU, and South Carolina," he said. "There's more, but those are the ones I can think of right now. I grew up in California before I moved here, and I was a UCLA fan there. I'm pretty much wide open though. Everyone but LSU is talking to me about playing defensive end; LSU has talked to me about playing some linebacker."

An excellent student with a 3.1 GPA, Mitchell is as interested in an institute's educational opportunities as he is it's athletic program.

"I want to study electrical engineering," he said. "I'm interested in how many people a school puts out from its engineering program, it's graduation rate and how comfortable I am at the campus. And how I get along with the coaches."

Mitchell camped at Ole Miss and LSU this summer and has offers from both schools. He attended the Nike Camp at Auburn this spring, but by the time he arrived it was rained out. He doesn't' currently list a favorite and seems willing to go deep into the recruiting process before committing.

"I'm still deciding which schools I want to visit," he said. "I haven't set up any visits yet. I want to take all five of my visits."

A native of California who moved to the Gulf Coast town of Long Beach eight years ago, Mitchell has no reservations about leaving the state to play college football.

He closely identifies with Tampa Bay star Warren Sapp in terms of intensity and physicality.

"I try to bring intensity to the field," he said. "I don't mind if they get up slowly after I hit them."

Mitchell has put the hurt on more than a few opponents over the years and he has impressed many scouts with his physical talent and full throttle approach to the game.

"Xavier Mitchell was one of the most impressive looking defensive linemen at the Nike Camp in Tuscaloosa last season," said the Insider's Scott Kennedy. "It was quite a surprise to find out that he was only a sophomore at the time. Now that his senior year is approaching, Mitchell will be one of the most highly recruited defensive ends in the south this year.

"He is big, strong, and fast, and he shows good technique beating the opposing offensive lineman with a variety of moves. He also displays the strength to take a blocker head on, shed him, and still make the tackle against the running back."

Mitchell, who is rated the No. 2 defensive end prospect in the south by The Insiders and a top 10 prospect at his position nationally, has set a personal goal of 100 tackles this season. However his focus is on helping the Bearcats battle back from a 3-8 season and deep into the Mississippi Class 5A playoffs.

He is being recruited by Tennessee assistant Steve Caldwell and considers UT a strong possibility to get one one of his official visits.

"Tennessee is definitely a place I want to visit," he said.

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