I was lucky enough to sit down with another recruit, a big athlete from Big Stone Gap, VA. He's a 2018 recruit, though, so his process has a long way to go. Anyhow, on with the interview...
GC: Thank you for sitting down with us James. Let's start off with who your primary recruiters are with Virginia Tech, and what position you're being recruited for.
JM: I'm being recruited as a TE right now, and coach wiles and coach shibest are my recruiters
GC: How is your relationship with those coaches? And is Wiles in because he's an area recruiter, or because they're also looking at you potentially at DE?
JM: Well, I went up during the spring and got to build a pretty good relationship with both of them. I think right now it's because he's an area recruiter, they haven't mentioned anything to me about playing defense yet.
GC: Well, would you be open to playing defense if asked?
JM: Yeah I'm willing to play whatever they want. I like playing defense, too.
GC: What position do you play on defense? And which side do you prefer?
JM: I play OLB, and I don't really have a preference right now.
GC: When did you get your scholarship offer/who first contacted you?
JM: I think it was sometime in late March. When they offered me they actually told my head coach first, then he kind of relayed the message to me. Then later I got in contact with Coach Wiles and Coach Shibest.
GC: What'd you think about them offering you in that way- via your coach rather than you directly?
JM: It didn't bother me, honestly. I actually contacted them later that morning so it wasn't a long time period before I got to talk to them.
GC: So which colleges are you hearing from right now besides Virginia Tech?
JM: I got an offer from UVA, interest from Clemson, a little interest from Notre Dame, and I got another offer from James Madison.
GC: Would you prefer to play in state, out of state, or does it not matter to you?
JM: Doesn't matter to me. Whichever place is right for me is where I'll be attending.
GC: Well, if that's the case, what does that entail?
JM: Good education, and a good coaching staff that cares about their players and just that sort of thing. I believe once you visit a campus too you'll be able to tell if that's the right one or vice versa.
GC: Have you been up to Blacksburg, then?
JM: I have, but I relate that more to an official visit. I've taken one unofficial at VT.
GC: Fair enough, the official visits are obviously more involved and revealing.
JM: Yeah, exactly.
GC: Well, how frequently do you hear from the coaching staffs recruiting you- be it Tech or UVA or otherwise?
JM: Every two weeks or so.
GC: Did you grow up a fan of any particular college or pro football team? And do you have a player that you're trying to emulate?
JM: Well, as a kid, I was actually a VT fan, me and my dad both. And I still like the Cowboys in the pros. My favorite player had always been Jason Witten. He's very versatile at that TE spot, a good blocker and great hands too, so...
GC: What are your thoughts on the recruiting process so far, and how are you and your family handling it?
JM: I've enjoyed it a lot actually, and (I'm) looking forward to the other recruiting trips I'll hopefully have to make. As far as my family, they were new to the whole thing just as I was, but I can tell they are starting to get in the flow of it.
GC: You've got two years before you hit college, what are you looking to improve upon before you get there?
JM: I'd say strength and speed, and my blocking skills.
GC: Do you have an idea of what you want to major in at college, or is that down the line?
JM: That's undecided right now.
GC: And lastly, do you have anyone you know on the Hokies' roster?
JM: Actually, there is a guy named Erikk Banks on the team, he's from a town about 30 minutes from mine.
We again would like to thank James for taking some time out of his schedule for this interview. Tape review! Sophomore style!
James Mitchell (Big Stone Gap, VA. 210lbs, 6'-4". Tight End)
Right now in his high school system, Mitchell is a wide receiver. He SHOULD be arrested for defensive back abuse. At this level in a small town in the plateau, he's sticks out like a sore thumb in a good way. Single A ball is one of the most overlooked sections of high school due to the perceived low talent level- and the lack of volume makes trips sometimes rather hard. But there's no question that Mitchell should be a college athlete just based on promise alone. The frame is hard to get, first thing, and being that fast at 6'-4", 210 (and he's not a burner, but plenty fast enough) is tough to pass up, too. I simply worry that due to his frame dimensions he'd be more of a Jimmy Graham, or stay outside and be Brandon Marshall rather than Jason Witten. That's another 35-45lbs he'd have to pack onto that frame, and while he has another 2 years to grow in high school before even getting to college, I'm not sure he's built to hold that kind of weight well, or that he should try. Now, I think he can be a very successful wide receiver, or a receiving tight end- which is probably more of what Fuente would want in his offense anyhow. Could we use him at defense? Possibly. Him at OLB at 230-240 would sure be a different tweak, and he appears to have decent ball skills, just that his value on offense is higher. One thing I think he needs to clean up is inconsistent catch position. By that, I mean he can and does make hand catches, but there are times when he lets the ball get too far into his body before securing the ball all the way. But his acrobatic catches prove that he can and will get it. He's got two years to mature and learn new skills, and he already looks really intriguing. I'm interested to see how his recruitment plays out.