Clarksdale (Miss.) High head football coach Jim Hughes believes that pre-evaluation Rivals100 cornerback prospect Charles Mitchell is one of the best players that he's ever coached, which is saying something considering the school has produced elite players like Chicago Bears offensive lineman Terrence Metcalf and former Mississippi State linebacker Mario Haggen.
That kind of recommendation has college programs that recruit the Northeast Mississippi town, in pursuit of the talented athlete.
"He's got offers from Mississippi State and Ole Miss," Hughes said. "But he's got a box full of letters from other schools. LSU, Florida, Colorado, Iowa State, Stanford wants him bad, too. He has the grades for a place like Stanford.
"Tennessee is supposed to be coming by next Thursday and Alabama and Auburn both have been after him, too."
In a recent article on Rivals.com, Mitchell named Ole Miss his current leader.
Hughes believes there are a number of reasons that his 5-foot-11, 187-pound standout is in the same league as fellow Mississippians DeAndre Brown and Templeton Hardy, among the nation's top prospects in the Class of 2008.
"He just gives 100 percent effort," Hughes said. "He's always trying to get better. He's always trying to do the little things right. He's always pushing himself to get better."
Most believe Mitchell projects as a cornerback at the next level. That's no surprise considering his size, athleticism, toughness and ball skills, but Hughes isn't ready to rule his star player out from playing offense yet.
"He's a good athlete on both sides of the ball," Hughes said. "He probably will play defense in college, but I'd hate to say he can't play offense because he does that so well for us. He plays basketball and he runs track so he's still going to be able to add weight. I think he can add another 15 pounds or so."
Mitchell rushed for 1,151 yards and 12 touchdowns during his junior year.
Like most high school players, there are things Hughes sees that Mitchell needs to work on.
"He probably needs to work on his quickness," he said. "He just needs to get a little bit quicker. But he's very good and very coachable."
Hughes and Mitchell start spring practice on April 30 and they play a spring scrimmage on May 17 at home against Greenville High.