When DaMarcus Mitchell was playing at Thibodaux High School, coach Chris Dugas made a bold statement about his player.
“I think he can start at any position on the field — literally just about any one,” Dugas said. “He’s that type of athlete — the size, the speed, the athleticism. The kid is just a football player.”
Turns out, the coach’s words weren’t too far off.
Mitchell has done a little bit of everything on the gridiron in the past 2-3 years and, in the process, is on his way to earning a scholarship at a major four-year university.
Mitchell is a rising sophomore at Southwest Mississippi Community College, and he’s one of the hottest local products around, owning a quickly growing offer list that includes scholarship offers from West Virginia, Louisiana Tech, UL-Lafayette, UL-Monroe and others. He has one more season with Southwest before he picks a four-year university for the final two seasons of his collegiate career.
Mitchell said the process of seeing his star grow has been humbling, but not altogether unexpected.
He said he’s long believed he’s had special talent, but was just in need of an opportunity to shine his star before the right people.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” Mitchell said. “But in some ways, it’s not, because I knew my time would come. I just had to stay focused and committed. That’s what I’m working on right now.”
Mitchell’s path to where he is now has been paved with zig-zags and unexpected twists and turns.
Mitchell was a quarterback at Thibodaux, and he was quite a good one for the Tigers.
He stands 6-feet, 4-inches and weighs 260 pounds. He used his big frame and powerful right arm to help the Tigers’ offense in both the running and passing game.
But Mitchell took a beating as a senior and he was battered and bruised throughout the year.
He signed with Southwest Mississippi Community College out of high school, but they didn’t give him a true position, instead stating that he’d be utilized as an athlete.
When he arrived on campus, they kept him on the offensive side of the ball and used him as a hybrid — a short-yardage halfback/H-back type of player in the 2018 season.
Mitchell said he was surprised to play that role for the team as a true freshman, though he did it selflessly. He carried 12 times for 57 yards and caught 6 passes for 66 yards with a score.
It wasn’t what I expected,” Mitchell said. “Only because I didn’t really expect to play running back with my size being 260 pounds and 6-foot-4. It took some adjusting.”
But after a year carrying the ball, Mitchell said he’s discovered that his collegiate home may soon be attempting to pulverize the ballcarrier, instead.
Mitchell has been active on the camp circuit and he’s been practicing heavily as a different type of hybrid — an outside linebacker/defensive end.
He’s a natural at the position — so much so that his work this spring and at the camps is what’s single-handedly getting him the attention he’s been receiving from scouts at the next level.
Mitchell said the camp work is helping him learn what it takes to be a prospect at the next level.
“The offseason is going great for me,” he said. “I’m constantly attending camps and that’s helping me to stay conditioned. It’s been a great experience.”
In HUDL clips, Mitchell can be seen dominating opponents. On run plays, he’s big, physical and strong enough to bust up the line of scrimmage and take down the ball carrier.
In the passing game, he’s fast off the edge and has a quick spin move that can beat slower, less athletic offensive tackles.
Those skills are what’s helping Mitchell to pile up the offers — at a rate that’s seemingly been one per day, as announced on his personal Twitter page.
“I thank God for the position I’m in right now,” Mitchell said. “It’s a blessing.”
But Mitchell said he believes there’s still room for improvement — both in and out of the classroom in his sophomore season with Southwest.
Off the field, he said he’s looking to become a 3.0 or higher student after posting a 2.8 GPA as a freshman.
On it, he said he wants to make his mark on the defensive side of the ball and continue to show coaches around the country the type of freakish athlete he can be to disrupt offenses at the next level.
And heck, if he needs to play offense again, or another position along the defense, that’s, OK, too.
He said he doesn’t label himself with a position.
DaMarcus Mitchell is just, simply, a football player.
“For me, there’s nothing I’m working on specifically besides being the best leader on the team I can be,” Mitchell said. “I promise, I’m going to be ready for anything that’s thrown at me throughout the course of the year.”