Injuries and his team’s inconsistency have marred the senior season of four-star Long Beach (Miss.) defensive end Xavier Mitchell, who will have his focus completely on recruiting at this time next week.
“We lost on Friday in a game we had to win to make the playoffs,” he said. “It’s been a tough year for me. I’ve been up and down due to injuries. I’ve had a high ankle sprain, a separated shoulder and a hamstring. I’ve played every game, but it’s been hard to play like I know I’m capable of playing.”
Mitchell (6-4, 245, 4.8) is rated the No. 10 strongside defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com. As a junior, he had 72 tackles and 10 sacks.
While he said he’s not ready to close the door on any schools, he has scheduled his five official visits.
“I’ve taken my first one already,” Mitchell said. “I went to Arizona State last month. I have Tennessee on Nov. 14. LSU has been changed from January to Dec 12. The week after that (12/19) I’ll be at USM. The last one is at Ole Miss. That’s sometime in January. I forget the exact date.”
Asked if any of those schools were leading at this point, Mitchell said: “No, I don’t think so. They’re all pretty close, pretty even. There’s something about all of them that I like.”
“I had a great time out at Arizona State,” he said. “I really enjoyed the atmosphere there. It’s a nice campus. The highlight was the way I got along with the players and students there. I felt real comfortable.
“Tennessee is a school I’ve always liked to watch ever since they had Peyton Manning. They’re on TV quite a bit. I like their tradition and the fan support there.
“I really like the coaches at Ole Miss. I went to their camp this summer and felt like I learned quite a bit that made me a better player. I like how they teach. I felt real comfortable with their coaches.
“USM has that real ‘home-type’ feel to it. It’s close to home and I know some people there.
“LSU is on a roll right now, ranked up high. I think their program is going to be strong the next few years. I was really impressed with how they looked when I saw them play Georgia. I like coach Muschamp a lot, too. He’s been really good to talk to during the recruiting process.”
In addition to the Georgia-LSU game, he’s also made an unofficial to Southern Miss for the Nebraska game. He plans at least one more trip, Nov. 22 at Oxford for what’s shaping up to be a huge SEC West showdown between LSU and Ole Miss.
Mitchell carries a 3.1 GPA and has scored an 18 on the ACT. He projects as a full-qualifier.