The Virginia Tech Hokies have just added commitment No. 13 to their 2014 recruiting class in New Jersey offensive lineman Billy Ray Mitchell. Mitchell is a 6'3"-6'5" 285-288 lb. guard from Paramus Catholic High School in Paramus, New Jersey.
Mitchell is a consensus three-star recruit by the four major recruiting services. Rivals ranks him as the No. 23 player in the state of New Jersey. 247Sports by comparison ranks him the No. 44 guard in the country and the No. 21 player in the state. ESPN has him ranked as the No. 68 guard nationally and the No. 25 player in the state. And Scout ranks him as the No. 48 offensive guard in the country. His primary recruiter was Jeff Grimes.
According to Mitchell's junior highlight tape from March, he has been offered by UMass, Tulane, Akron, Central Michigan, Miami (OH), Southern Miss, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Buffalo, Syracuse, Georgia Tech and Florida Atlantic, though 247, ESPN and Scout have since added a Cincinnati offer and 247 and ESPN have added Connecticut as well.
Now let's take a look at said tape:
Keep in mind, while he is listed as a guard, plays tackle almost exclusively in this video.
- From the first play he shows you EXACTLY what I like to see in an offensive lineman. He seals off an opponent to the play, runs him into the ground, gets back up and proceeds to slam the opponent into the ground again! THIS is what we're looking for in the temperament of offensive linemen, (which I brought up last week after the commitment of Tyrell Smith) guys like Jake Grove and Mack Crowder (who plays at Tennessee and who I raved about in the class of 2011 as the closest guy I had seen to Grove).
- Mitchell is always looking for the next player to hit. He is relentless.
- He is an imposing physical player.
- Mitchell is quick off the line and quick to engage. This is evidenced by most of the still shots to begin each play where he is circled. He's usually the first and sometimes the only player that has moved in those shots.
- I would agree with his classification as a guard. His footwork in his backpedal is probably not quick or wide enough to profile as a tackle at the next level.
- He does do some long-snapping at the end of the video, but I wasn't very impressed by this. Long-snapping requires so much precision, and part of that is making sure not only that you get it there, but also that it is so on target that the punter does not have to move. The latter was the issue for Mitchell at that position in this tape.
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