Ready for Corner Competition

Although his former recruiting coach, Joe Rudolph, was like a second father to him and one of the big reasons he committed to Wisconsin, Shady Side (PA) Academy Reggie Mitchell says he is working four days a week to make sure he's ready to play for the Badgers starting this summer.

MADISON - From getting his first Division 1 scholarship offer to committing to the two time Big Ten champions in less than 12 hours last June, one would assume life would change for 6-0, 180-pound cornerback Reggie Mitchell. Reflecting at the conclusion of his high school career, it actually was quite the opposite.

"I guess more people knew about me, but nothing really changed for me or around the school," Mitchell told Badger Nation. "I really think when a lot of these recruits say things or draw a lot of attention, it could be a distraction because a lot of people want to talk to you or get to know you. I just like doing my own thing and playing football."

After accounting for more than 500 yards passing and 500 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions last season, Mitchell, an underrated two-star recruit and the No.133 cornerback in the country by, finished with over 1,400 rushing yards and passed for over 800 yards without an interception as a senior for Shady Side Academy, a AA school in Pittsburgh.

"It wasn't as successful as it could be, but I was pretty excited with the amount of younger guys that we had on our team and I'm proud of them," said Mitchell. "We made it to the playoffs but due to some injuries, we lost in the second round. That was the first time in my high school career we made it past the first round, so that was pretty cool."

The other frustrating part was that word about Mitchell's defense evidentially spread throughout Pennsylvania's second-highest high school football level, as he says he was rarely challenged through the air.

"It was kind of frustrating," said Mitchell. "I played cornerback for the first few games and played against Scott Orndoff from Seton-Lasalle, who is also committed to Wisconsin. They threw at me once when I was guarding him, so my coach actually moved me to safety to kind of dare them to take a chance. That helped out a lot more being able to move in space."

Although recruited by tight end coach Joe Rudolph, who has since moved on to Pittsburgh, Mitchell has developed good relationships with defensive coordinator Chris Ash and head coach Bret Bielema, further strengthening his commitment to Wisconsin, especially since seeing UW go back to the Rose Bowl.

"It's been really encouraging and seeing them have success is great," said Mitchell. "That's what you want in your upcoming program. When I met the guys when I went up there and just saw how hard they were working, they deserve everything they got this year. They are really family oriented with all the coaches having their wives, their kids and their families at all the events. You can tell that there are a different breed of guys there compared to other programs out there.

"From the first time Coach Rudolph called me, you can tell that he really wanted me to be with them, and he tried everything to get me there for camp. You can tell that they were offering me because of who I am as a person instead of who I am as a player. I am really happy for Coach Rudolph getting an opportunity to get closer to being a head coach. It's a chance he deserves and even though he is a big part of why I picked Wisconsin and was a second father to me, nothing has changed for me. I am still going to Wisconsin."

After working hard last summer on his physicality at the line of scrimmage and being aggressive in his coverage, Mitchell spent last season focusing on his tackling in space and playing off the ball. Now he's working four days a week to try to compete for a spot on the field for the Badgers next season.

"That was one thing I struggled with at my camp at Wisconsin, my off-man coverage," said Mitchell. "It really helped this year working on breaking off the ball when I'm eight yards out. I am working out with a speed and agility guy, making sure I get better at everything, work harder than everybody else and be ready for Wisconsin so I can try and compete for some playing time."

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