Mike Mitchell Regains Normalcy in Return to Texas

By Kyle Rowland on June 11, 2014 at 1:00p
38 Comments

In the lead up to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in 2013, Ohio State coaches and fans awaited with anticipation and angst usually reserved for a rivalry game. This time, they were waiting on word of where five-star linebacker Mike Mitchell would attend college.

The Texan’s recruitment was a much talked about subject. It even verged on spectacle when stories about the family mail man, an Ohio State fan, putting Buckeye mail on top emerged. Ohio State’s 2013 recruiting class already was considered one of the best in the country. But Mitchell’s pledge would act as a giant bow on top of a shiny object. When he donned an Ohio State hat in the Alamodome, a sigh of relief could be felt in Columbus.

Mitchell told Eleven Warriors at the time that he picked the Buckeyes due to a comfort level on campus. There were predictions of immediate success, the next in line in a proud linebacker tradition. But there was a major U-turn in one year.

Mitchell was injured in fall camp and ended up redshirting, even though Ohio State’s linebacker play was anything but impressive. When his father’s health declined, it sent the indomitable Mitchell into a funk. By all accounts, he never recovered and his father’s condition led to a transfer to Texas Tech.  

In an interview with Fox Sports discussing his decision, Mitchell cited family as the overriding factor in leaving Ohio State and getting closer to his home in Plano, Texas.

“Honestly, a lot of it had to do with my family,” he said. “My dad’s health isn’t great. It wasn’t as bad when I left [for Ohio State], and for a while it seemed to be getting better. But now, it’s kind of not as good. Plus, I had an injury that really limited me on the field last year as well.

“But really, it was mostly about my family, about being back in Texas and being closer to them, being around them as much as I can.”

He left in good standing with coaches and teammates. Relationships were developed with Urban Meyer and Luke Fickell, coaches Mitchell called “great.”

“They have great football knowledge and taught me a ton about the game,” he said. “I’m grateful for them and grateful for the time I spent at the school. At the same time, everything happens for a reason. And I’m excited now to be moving on with the next chapter of my life.”

Despite redshirting, Mitchell was expected to factor into Ohio State’s linebacker rotation this season, adding depth to an area in need. Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry are the team’s returning starters, but Mitchell, along with Darron Lee, Trey Johnson, Chris Worley, Camren Williams, Raekwon McMillan, Sam Hubbard, Dante Booker and Kyle Berger, was a candidate to receive playing time.

Another moving part is brother Mickey’s commitment to Thad Matta. Mickey is a five-star forward who could be a difference maker his freshman season. There were rumblings of an impending de-commitment after Mike transferred, but those rumors have since been silenced.

Mike Mitchell’s story is one of caution. Injuries and outside factors contributed to his redshirt. Still, it can be used as a lesson in slowing down expectations of true freshmen. Competing at a high level and being named All-Big 12 or even All-American remains a possibility for Mitchell. His year at Ohio State, though, is proof that expectations can overwhelm and be a disservice to 17- and 18-year-olds.  

Curtis Grant, Ray Small and others have shown over time that a few stars don’t guarantee instant success, nor does it limit outlooks. Recruiting is a hit-or-miss business with the misses often scorned. For the players, it’s once in a lifetime, unless, of course, they go through the process again.

Mitchell used many of the same words when asked why Texas Tech was the right school for him – comfort, coaches, etc. And he’ll use his experience from Ohio State and apply it to his next chapter in Lubbock.  

“Really, playing there was just next-level football,” Mitchell said. “You get used to playing in high school, being the biggest, fastest guy, but playing on the college level, you realize everyone is just as skilled. I was able to improve as a football player a lot at Ohio State, learn from Coach Meyer and his coaching staff. It’s also other stuff, too. It’s time management, it’s being mature.

“I really did enjoy my time at the school. It taught me a lot about being an adult.”

38 Comments

Comments

BTBuckeye's picture

Best of luck Mike!

+5 HS
osu07asu10's picture

Good luck Mike! 

Guy handled it like a pro buckeye. I hope he tears it up at Texas Tech and everything works out.

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

+7 HS
otrain2416's picture

I was really bummed when this kid transferred because I has very high hopes for him as a Buckeye. At the same time, I realize family comes first and he had to make a grown man decision. Good part for him is Kliff Kingsbury has done an amazing job at Texas Tech so far and he should be a great fit there. 

+5 HS
cplunk's picture

Would have loved to see him play here but it was not to be. Best of luck to him in his career. Hope he kills it down there.

+3 HS
Findog5's picture

Good kid!

NCFinn

+4 HS
BucksfanXC's picture

So sad it didn't work out to see this physical beast tear apart the opposition in The Shoe. I wish him the best of luck and still look forward to watching The Abusement Park go on to do big things.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

+3 HS
BuckeyeSki's picture

<Insert a-hole comment here>

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

+4 HS
bodast67's picture

I get the joke BUCKEYESKI...

 

 

 

     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

+2 HS
BuckeyeJ's picture

I was really excited when Trey Jonson and Mitchell chose us. Best of luck to him!!! IMO he will always b a Buckeye! Choosing family is what this team is about

+3 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

Man, I was so freaking pumped for this kid. Still am going to be a fan of him, not of TT, haha. Good luck, Mike. Take it easy.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+4 HS
BuckGnome's picture

I wish him nothing but success at TT. 

 

+3 HS
rihmds80's picture

Best of luck Mike!!! You'll always be a Buckeye in my eyes!!! I wish you a tremendous amount of success at Texas Tech (that is as long as it's not against Ohio State)!!!

+4 HS
Boxley's picture

Ditto, exactly my thoughts on this topic Rihmds80. Best of luck Mike in yout FB future and your family's health situation.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

+1 HS
ohio gf's picture

Still disappointed in the outcome of him....wish he was still playing for the Bucks.

+3 HS
trigg03's picture

The kid is full of class & I wish he would have worked things out to stay in Cbus. He will be a force for TT

+2 HS
hspbuy1's picture

Well said! I agree!

hspbuy1

+1 HS
1967Buck's picture

Wish you the Best Mike to you and yours. Peace bro.

+1 HS
bodast67's picture

As long as his little brother Mickey stays committed to "The" , there will be a conection to Mike and his family.

Good Luck !

 

 

 

     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

+2 HS
mtrotb's picture

Hopefully this is the last written about him on an OSU board.  Good luck, but time to move on.

mtrotb

+4 HS
thatlillefty's picture

Did 11W send out a memo to staff this morning asking them to temper reader behavior/expectations toward recruits?

NitroBuck's picture

Memo or not, the overwhelming majority of Buckeye fans have wished Mike Mitchell well.  And that has been the case since the news broke that he would transfer out.  I love it when my fellow fans keep it classy.

Ferio.  Tego.

+1 HS
DJ Byrnes's picture

 

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

DJ - got nuttin' but love fo ya brother, but he is notoriously one of the worst presidents in our history... no, really.  Now, I know you have a million reasons for why he was one of the best, but for the love of sanity, pray tell why (or have you posted this somewhere before - if so, forgive me).

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

You may be "droned" ISurvivedcooper! You think Texas is bad? You don't ever want to mess with Marion!

ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

FWIW, I went to Warren G. Harding high school for a year... then got the hell out when I came to my senses, and went to Hawaii. ;p

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

Ahhh, a Prexy! They were in the old Buckeye Conference with us when I was in high school (Findlay) - about the time Warren G was prez!

+1 HS
Nick's picture

Fortunately for Harding, Woodrow Wilson was once president.

+3 HS
FitzBuck's picture

I hope he becomes an all American.  

Sucks it didn't work out but great kid.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+1 HS
Oakland Buckeye's picture

Was my favorite recruit in this class - beginning from the monster Sparq numbers. Really saw him as the next lil Animal... with similar size & great character. Will miss this kid but Texas Tech has a new fan in me.

+2 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

I will actually try to watch a Tx Tech game this year if he plays, which I have little doubt he will. I hope he does well and still makes all his dreams come true.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+3 HS
mtrotb's picture

So you don't think he has to sit out a year as a transfer, is that you said you think he is going to play this year?

mtrotb

swainpm's picture

A medical hardship for family might mean he is eligible now.

mtrotb's picture

Good luck on that.  It is 345 miles from Plano to Lubbock.  If it truly was a family issue then he should have gone to SMU in Dallas 20 miles away.

mtrotb

-1 HS
swainpm's picture

Lubbock is a lot closer than Columbus. I bet he will get one.

Oldschoolbuck's picture

God bless you and your family Mike. We hope your dad's health is better. Good luck with the Red Raiders!

+2 HS
lvccacamcrca's picture

Good Luck Mike to you and all of your Family

PoKeY21's picture

And this is why getting so worked up one way or the other about recruiting is lame. This kid was a 5 star and a headliner of our top 3 recruiting class in the country. Now he is at TT with no hard feelings on either side. It was best for him to be home with his family in trying times and we all wish him the best. But I guarantee all through his recruitment this kid heard some pretty ridiculous stuff, especially for an 18 year old HS kid. 5 stars have it alot worse than most but thats beside the point.Its just unfair for so much pressure to be put on these kids in HS. I'm guilty of it too, but 11W did a good job today ramming home the point. Its a fine line though that this website needs to walk on message boards deciphering between peoples opinions and just mean spiritedness. Everyone needs to lighten up on these kids fans and media alike. The media does a great job building these kids up as gods gift to the football program and they havent even played a down. Then when someone doesn't pan out for whatever reasons the fans do a great job of ripping them apart. Not in this case obviously but it does happen all too often. Us and 11W both need to heed their message today and temper our expectations and negativity towards these kids until they atleast play a down in the scarlet and gray.

When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass - Robert Knight

rayjack01's picture

Good luck Mike I will be rooting for you.