Four-star Long Beach (Miss.) defensive end Xavier Mitchell has trimmed his list to two co-leaders and a third darkhorse he’ll make on official final visit with next weekend.
“As of now, I’m really looking at Tennessee, USM and Ole Miss,” he said. “Tennessee and USM are real close right now as far as being my leader. Ole Miss is a little bit behind them, and really doesn’t interest me as much as those first two, but then again I haven’t made my visit there. I still want to see what they’re like and if that’s a place where I might fit in.”
He plans to be in Oxford on the weekend of Jan. 16.
Many had Mitchell (6-4, 245, 4.8) pegged for LSU late in the recruiting process.
“Yeah, I know,” he said. “I heard a lot of people saying that.”
So what happened?
“LSU’s just stacked pretty much,” he said. “Nothing against them. They have a great program. They’re the national champions. But they’re loaded at my position with the players they have and the ones coming in. I just felt like I may have a better chance to make an impact at the other schools I’m looking at.”
Asked what differentiates Tennessee and Southern Miss at this point, Mitchell said: “Tennessee has a lot of tradition and competes for championships. But I like USM, too. I think as a team they’re a little bit underrated. They’re not in a big conference like Tennessee, but I could see myself fitting in with them.
"I'm just ready to get it all over with. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "After this last visit, I think I'll make my decision."
He visited Tennessee on Nov. 14 and Southern Miss on Dec. 19. He also made an official visit to Arizona State.
Mitchell is rated the No. 10 strongside defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com.