Following a stellar senior season in which he helped lead Walker to an undefeated regular season, Mitchell will be one of the founders of Mercer’s football program, which will begin play this fall as a member of the Pioneer League, a conference of non-scholarship teams in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision.
“I’m excited about starting up a program,” Mitchell said. “I could potentially be a four-year starter and start something new and original.”
Walker coach John East said that running back Evan Kasian and lineman Mike Ramsey, a Duke commitment, were getting the brunt of the college attention during the Wolverines’ record-setting season.
East said wasn’t until Mitchell started practicing for December’s Cobb Senior Bowl when coaches really started noticing his quickness and aggressiveness on the front line.
Having played on both offensive and defensive line since his sixth-grade year for Walker’s junior program, Mitchell anchored the trenches and produced solid results on both sides of the ball.
Mitchell, who lined up at tackle, often gave Kasian room to run around the edge and helped Walker’s star tailback finish the season with 2,080 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. He was also graded at 82 percent with 30 pancake blocks as an offensive lineman.
Defensively, Mitchell finished with 72 tackles and 7½ sacks.
“What’s interesting about Colin is that he’s a soccer goalie and is very quick,” East said. “He’s such an agile athlete for a big man. Mercer is getting someone who’s not only an offensive lineman but a quick offensive lineman. He’s excited about what (Mercer is) trying to do and will help build the program.”
Mitchell said he will likely play both sides of the ball at Mercer for coach Bobby Lamb, a former coach at FCS power Furman, when he first reports to practice.
And he’s willing to do both until he’s assigned one side or the other.
Not only can Mitchell play both ways, but he can “play for two people,” according to East.
Mitchell’s best game of the year came in the season finale, a 21-0 win over Gordon Lee, in which Ramsey was suspended after a late hit the previous week. Without Ramsey in the lineup, Mitchell doubled his responsibilities and stood out mostly on the defensive line with nine tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and blocked a punt.
“Let me tell you, he played for two people,” East said, “and we dominated on defense.
“Colin gives us great football on either side of the ball. He’s a kid who is in such good shape. He can go a long way before getting tired. He probably played more downs than any of our linemen.”