Mitchell has SEC drooling

You can tell a lot about a prospect simply by looking at the schools that are recruiting him.

A look at the schools who have offered scholarships to Valdosta (Ga.) wideout/defensive back Malcolm Mitchell, for instance, tells you he's a big-time prospect.

Alabama's Nick Saban was first to offer. Then came an offer from Auburn's Gene Chizik, followed by Florida's Urban Meyer, Georgia's Mark Richt and Tennessee's Derek Dooley. LSU's Les Miles and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier have come through with recent offers, as well.

Mitchell, a 6-1, 190-pounder with 4.4 speed, already visited Bama, Florida and Georgia. He reportedly enjoyed each visit but lists no favorites at present.

"I'm wide open," he said.

Although he is rated a 3-star prospect by Scout and ranked No. 62 among America's wide receiver prospects, Mitchell can do a lot more than catch passes. In addition to receiver and defensive back, he returns kickoffs and punts.

No 2009 statistics are available on Mitchell, who explained that "Our coach got fired, and I think he took the stats with him." Still, Mitchell says he scored nine touchdowns in six different ways last fall.

Mitchell clearly is an explosive offensive weapon, yet several SEC schools believe he is a better secondary prospect than receiver prospect. He thinks so, too.

"I'd like to play somewhere in the secondary," he said, adding that "It doesn't matter if it's corner or safety."

Asked why he prefers defense to offense, he answered: "I like to hit. You can make good plays on offense but you can make great plays on defense. That's the way I look at it."

Mitchell says Tennessee special teams/tight ends coach Eric Russell has been in touch with him on behalf of the Vols, whose campus he hopes to visit "probably sometime this summer."

The Vols might have a little recruiting leverage in that their incoming freshman class includes a guy who played alongside Mitchell in Valdosta High's defensive backfield last fall.

"One of our players is going there, Dontavis Sapp," Mitchell said. "We played together in the secondary."

Asked if Sapp's presence at Tennessee might affect his decision, Mitchell replied: "It could if it came down to the wire. Right now, no."

Obviously, SEC recruiters see a lot they like about Mitchell. Asked to assess his game, he replied: "When the ball's in the air, I'm good with that. And I have a lot of aggressiveness and speed."

Tabbed first-team All-Region in 2009, Mitchell isn't planning to wait until National Signing Day to pick a school.

"I'll probably decide before or during the (high school) season," he said.

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