Malcolm Mitchell is the early leader in the clubhouse for the Dawg I’ll be rooting for most next season. Not just because he decided to come back, but because he put so much thought into his decision.
The story of a star college football player joining a (previously) all-women’s book club made for a feel-good feature, picked up by “CBS Sunday Morning”, among others. But it was also a window into the changed person that Mitchell became after the injuries.
“It placed a value in a lot of different areas,” said Mitchell, who grew up in Valdosta. “Coming from not a financial stable home the first thing in your mind is to make the most money you can. Just make the money so you can take care of your family.
“But there’s ways of going about it, from long term to short term. So you can leave early, and you can make the money. But it probably won’t be a long-term process, as if you stick around and get a little more educated.”
The long-term goal still includes playing football as long as his body will let him. Mitchell said he believes he always could and still can play at the next level.
“For how long, who knows,” he said. “But I want to know after that I still can provide a positive outlook on student-athletes somehow, based on how my mind can produce, not my body.”
Not to say he doesn’t have big dreams.
But making it to the NFL still remains Mitchell’s obsession. He met with NFL consultant Joe Mendes and asked the NFLPA for an draft grade. But he’d go only if he was rated the No. 1 receiver prospect overall and he knows he won’t.
And that is his goal — to be the top-rated NFL prospect — after next season.
“That’s definitely something I want to work towards,” he said.
Stay healthy, man. And hopefully next year’s offense will be more geared towards your talents.
There was a dramatic decrease in Mitchell’s yards-per-catch – only 8.2 this season, versus 14.3 as a sophomore. Mitchell attributes that to Georgia’s offense, rather than his health. The Bulldogs started the year without Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley, two of the more explosive receivers, and were heavily reliant on the run.
“They couldn’t adjust to my style of play because I wasn’t playing at the beginning of the season,” he said. “So I wasn’t expecting them to change all of a sudden when I came back.”
But Mitchell answered “yes” when asked if he was every bit the deep threat he was. He doesn’t feel he’s lost any explosiveness because of the injuries, which also included hamstring injuries as a freshman and sophomore.
He’s promising a show in 2015. I’m looking forward to seeing one.