It's July, which means it's basically football season, right? Well, we're certainly close. With that in mind, the BulldogBlitz.com Senior Spotlight continues today. Every day, until there are none left, we will profile one of Mississippi State's seniors entering their last year in Starkville. Going in numerical order, today's senior is,
#4 Charles Mitchell, safety, 5'11", 205 pounds
How did he get here? The Clarksdale (Miss.) native was named the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year after his senior year of high school. He was a member of the Rivals250, and Rivals.com listed him as 10th best safety prospect in the nation. Mitchell played both running back and defensive back in high school, and he was named to the Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen list. Mitchell selected MSU over offers from such schools as Alabama, Nebraska, Michigan and Ole Miss.
What did he do last year? Mitchell started in all of MSU's 13 games in 2010, and he was the third-leading tackler on the team, racking up 93 total stops. He recorded three tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries as an experienced starter in the secondary. Mitchell was credited with one pass break-up.
What does he need to do in 2011? Mitchell will continue to be the anchor of MSU's secondary, and he will likely be asked to take on even more of a leadership role on the defense as both a senior and returning starter on a young defensive unit.
Mitchell will say his primary concern is winning, but 2011 may define his future, and he needs to improve in some areas if he wants to be picked in the NFL Draft next spring. In addition to only one pass defended, Mitchell did not record an interception last season. His strength in stopping the run and chasing down receivers should not be overlooked, but he may need more "highlight reel" plays in 2011. For example, he intercepted Houston quarterback Case Keenum and returned it 71 yards for a touchdown in his sophomore year. He also picked off two passes in the season finale against Ole Miss that year.
New defensive coordinator Chris Wilson will likely rely heavily on Mitchell in 2011
Coach's quote: Tony Hughes, safeties coach, 5/13/2011: "Charles is a three-year starter in the program, and we look at him as one of the leaders for the entire team. He plays extremely hard, is athletic, is one of our best tacklers and is a guy we are very excited about this fall. It is a blessing to have him as a great senior leader and the leader of the defense."