Jan 05 2013: U.S. Army All-American Bowl West Team LB Mike Mitchell (44) from Prestonwood Christian in Plano, TX puts on an Ohio State cap during the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in the Alamodome in San Antonio Texas.
Elevenwarriors.com reported Sunday night Ohio State linebacker Mike Mitchell’s time as a Buckeye is over.
Mitchell, a 6-3, 222-pounder from Plano, Texas, was a five-star recruit in the 2013 class and expected to make a mark early on an Ohio State football team lacking standouts at his position. Instead, the No. 2-ranked middle linebacker in his recruiting class took a redshirt after linebackers coach Luke Fickell said Mitchell "hit a wall" toward the end of preseason camp.
Inconsistent linebacker play was part of an overall sub-par year for the Ohio State defense in 2013, and Mitchell was expected to be a strong candidate to change that in 2014.
However, the Elevenwarriors report indicates his decision to leave the program is a result of a desire to be closer to his father, former NFL player Ken Mitchell, who is said to be ailing.
The development could also mean Buckeye basketball coach Thad Matta loses a recruit as Mike’s little brother, Mickey, is a five-star high school junior who verbally committed to Ohio State in August. A 6-7, 220-pound prospect, Mickey Mitchell is Scout.com’s No. 5-rated power forward in the country for 2015.
Linebacker, a consistent strength at Ohio State for years, has been a source of frustration with a high turnover rate in recent years. Mitchell is one of 21 linebackers to sign with Ohio State in the past six years, and he would be the seventh to transfer while two others had their careers end prematurely because of medical issues.
In announcing his 2014 recruiting class earlier this month, head coach Urban Meyer stressed the need for early contributions from the four members who play linebacker — Sam Hubbard of Cincinnati Moeller, Kyle Berger of Cleveland St. Ignatius, Dante Booker of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary and Raekwon McMillan of Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County.