January 31, 2008

Enrolled Hargrave safety has good feeling

He hasn't been in Oxford too long, but already Jared Mitchell's got a feeling.

The feeling began during the recruiting process when Mitchell spoke with Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt and recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn.

And since arriving on campus, Mitchell's feelings about Ole Miss and the football staff have only grown stronger.

"It's one of the coolest coaching staffs I've ever been around," Mitchell said. "Sometimes, you'll go some place and there's always that one coach who no one likes. Here, they're all cool.

"I'm going to love playing for this coaching staff. I can't imagine ever having a problem with them."

Mitchell, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound three-star prospect from Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., praised Nutt for being assertive in establishing a good relationship.

"He's not one of those coaches who's far back," he said. "He gets to know you; he talks to you. You don't have to go out of your way to talk to him; he'll come to you."

Mitchell said he's been working a lot with the Rebels strength and conditioning coach Don Decker and with some members of the Rebel secondary like Kendrick Lewis and Cassisus Vaughn.

"Everyone's really good about helping me out," he said.

The adjustment to Oxford's been made even easier, Mitchell said. His roommate is his old friend Julian Whitehead.

"It was real important because I wouldn't have known anybody. I already have one teammate here, Julian Whitehead," Mitchell said. "Julian and I were good friends at Hargrave, and now, we're roommates. He's helped me adjust."

More Hargrave players could be on the way. The Rebels are high on running back Enrique Davis' and Andrew Harris' lists.

"We're trying to recruit them," Mitchell said. "They're thinking of coming real hard."

This weekend the Rebels are hosting three-star offensive guard Chris Zinn and three-star cornerback Rudy Wilson. Four-star cornerback Josh Pleasant is also reportedly high on the Rebels.

"We're all cool with them too," Mitchell said. "It'll be real good to have the Hargrave family back together again."

Until the rest of the Hargrave guys get here, Mitchell said he can't worry too much, though. He's got work to do.

"I just recently switched to safety at Hargrave so I've been looking at people like LaRon Landry and Sean Taylor," Mitchell said. "I just like how they hit people. Nobody wants to go against them.

"I'm working on my coverage skills right now, so I'm watching cornerbacks too."

Converting to safety from wide receiver does have its advantages.

"You know the stages of their routes, and that helps you read them better," Mitchell said. "It's easier because you know what they're thinking; you used to think it too."

And while he's improving his on-field skills now, Mitchell said he improved a lot off the field at Hargrave.

"It helped me grow up. I like to joke a lot, and there were times were it'd be one o'clock in the morning and I hadn't started my homework," he said. "Now, I know how to buckle down because I know what's at stake.

"At Hargrave, you see some guys who might to have had their grades right, and I don't want to end up in that position."

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