Iowa took serious looks at receivers when Derrick Mitchell Jr. committed.
Indiana wide receiver Mike Rogers had an Iowa offer, but with some academic questions, he opted for Bowling Green. Detroit wideout Mycial Allen announced to the world that he picked the Hawkeyes. He had yet to visit Iowa City and later pulled back on the commitment.
Then, this wide receiver recruiting thing worked for the Hawkeyes.
Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) High School’s Mitchell picked the Hawkeyes over Nebraska, Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State, according to HawkeyeReport.com. The 6-0, 185-pounder had nine offers overall with Iowa’s being the first back in February.
Mitchell played quarterback for Vashon last season and was extremely productive. He passed for 808 yards, rushed for 518 and picked up 277 yards receiving. He also scored 15 touchdowns. On defense, Mitchell had 39 tackles and an interception. According to HawkeyeReport, Mitchell also was recruited on defense. Missouri and Arkansas also have shown interest. Missouri is the home-state school and could jump into the competition, but it has yet to offer Mitchell.
Mitchell’s recruitment was credited to Iowa recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson, who’s done extremely well for Iowa in the St. Louis area. Along with NFL Hawkeyes Adrian Clayborn and Marvin McNutt, Johnson recruited starting outside linebacker Christian Kirksey and reserve wide receiver Don Shumpert.
“He’s a big-time player for us. Very productive, very skillful, very aggressive and very talented,” Vashon coach Reginald Ferguson told Rivals.com. “Very strong, very confident and he has a real good head on his shoulders.”
Scouting snippet (from ESPN.com)
The Positive: Mitchell is a hybrid running back/wide receiver that has split time between QB and WR at this level. He has a unique build that features some bulk and strength more in the mold of a true running back, but also possesses natural ball skills and receiving traits. Has good height and layered bulk with a thick lower trunk on tape. He has good strength and good athleticism and he uses his size as a route runner to push off and block out defenders. He shows good change-of-direction, he can settle in and out of his routes along with the natural ability to separate. He is very good after the catch and he can turn a short route into a big play because he is tough to bring down. He has very good balance, body control and leaping ability and should develop into a sound red zone target on fades, slants and under screens. He has very good hands-- big hands and will extend to win jump balls and he shows very good awareness of the ball in the air and how to adjust.
The Pause: Mitchell is not a guy that is overly flashy or sudden in anything that he does. Has above average speed overall, but does show some acceleration after the catch and as a route runner. He has some shake and bake that will surprise you in the open field and he is always quick to transition upfield and prepared to make a move. Could be a quality threat as a Wildcat QB if utilized as a featured runner out of the shotgun. Does a nice job of sifting through tight creases in-line and has good instincts and vision. Mitchell is a versatile weapon that gives coaches options. He has some BCS caliber traits.
What Iowa said . . .
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: “He is a very good athlete. Again, he's another one of those guys we think a lot of his best football is in front of him. He does multiple sports with football, track, baseball and basketball. He's a four-sport kid. He hasn't even seen the weightroom yet and he's 190 pounds (6-1, 190). Derrick is a lot broader [bigger, more muscular] of a person than Andre [Harris] is. Just a very, very good athlete. Huge hands." Was it a good recruiting battle with Missouri? "I don't know what Missouri did with those kids. I think there is a lot of pressure within that state to look outside. I know that sounds weird, but I think the media feel they need to go look in those SEC hotbeds for kids."
What the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote . . .
From when Mitchell signed: Mitchell showed his versatility as a junior when he played quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back and returned kicks and punts, excelling in each area for the Wolverines.
He threw for 808 yards, with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions, and racked up 796 total yards (518 rushing, 277 receiving) and seven total touchdowns (3 rushing, 2 receiving and 2 on kickoff returns).
His impressive performance during his junior campaign, along with his combination of size and speed, earned him plenty of attention from colleges in the offseason and led to nine scholarship offers.
Mitchell, who is expected to play wide receiver in college, ended up picking the Hawkeyes over Nebraska, Kansas State, Iowa State, Kansas, Indiana, Cincinnati, Memphis and Miami-Ohio.
“He’s universal,” Vashon coach Reginald Ferguson said. “He can go on the offensive side of the ball, the defensive side of the ball. His vision and knowledge of the game, and his athletic ability — when you put those things together, you’ve got a phenomenal athlete.”
What I think (FWIW, obviously) . . .
Mitchell will definitely start out at WR. He's got some poundage to him, so perhaps a Kevonte Martin-Manley type? He could, perhaps, grow into that RB/slot role that Iowa seems intent on growing (and might already have grown if Damon Bullock would've stayed healthy last season). Mitchell scored 45 points in a basketball game for Vashon. You have to like the strategy of bringing in multiple kids from the St. Louis area. Iowa has planted a flag there and why not? It's about a four-hour drive to Iowa City. With his size, Mitchell might be positioned to help Iowa in '13.