For many Virginia Tech fans — this author included — James Mitchell’s career in Blacksburg is about what could have been. A four-star recruit from Union High School in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, in the class of 2018, Mitchell became an immediate contributor for the Hokies.
As a true freshman in 2018, Mitchell appeared in all 13 games, mainly on special teams. He did start one game at tight end but did not record any statistics.
In 2019, Mitchell split time with Dalton Keene, and the Hokies should have had an elite duo of pass-catching tight ends, but to the previous offensive staff’s ineptitude or outright refusal to feature the tight end, it never happened. He did appear in every game, making eight starts, and caught 21 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns.
Mitchell also appeared to be a weapon in the running game, scoring four rushing touchdowns on the infamous jet sweep near the goal line.
Mitchell would continue his success in 2021, playing in all games, recording 26 receptions for 435 yards and four touchdowns. He also scored another touchdown on the ground.
Unfortunately, early in the 2021 season, Mitchell was hit and injured his knee in a September win over Middle Tennessee State. Sadly, that was the end of his playing career at Virginia Tech.
Mitchell entered the 2022 NFL draft and attended the NFL combine. Mitchell measured in at 6-foot-3, 255 pounds. Of course, he wasn’t able to do any of the athletic testing or position drills as he recovered from knee surgery.
Despite missing most of his final college season and being unable to run for scouts, Mitchell’s name is a hot one in draft circles.
Every NFL team receives 30 visits from draft prospects each spring. The team pays for the player to attend the organization’s headquarters in an effort to better get to know the prospect. Mitchell has already been on two of those “top 30” visits this spring.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Mitchell has visited the Las Vegas Raiders and Buffalo Bills. The Bills are a legit Super Bowl contender in 2022 with franchise passer Josh Allen, while the Raiders are expected to be a title contender after the offseason additions of defensive end Chandler Jones and wide receiver Davante Adams.
Virginia Tech TE James Mitchell has made Top 30 visits to the Raiders and Bills, per source. Mitchell was a preseason All-ACC selection before tearing his ACL in September. He’s tracking toward a healthy 2022 season.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 14, 2022
Either franchise would be a terrific landing spot for Mitchell.
Mitchell is an outstanding prospect. If his injury and lack of college production (no fault of his own) drop him to the middle rounds, someone is getting a steal. Mitchell will have a better pro career than his college career because NFL coaches are smart enough to know how to employ the versatile Mitchell.
We are happy Mitchell is getting plenty of (deserved) attention ahead of the 2022 NFL draft and are hoping for a long and prosperous NFL career from one of our favorite Hokies.