Texas A&M Aggies: Mike Mitchell

The Nike Football Training Camp series will continue outside of Dallas on Sunday. Athletes will trek to Allen, Texas, the home of one of the most impressive high school stadiums in the country. Allen Eagles Stadium, a $60-million facility, opened last year and featured nearly 22,000 fans watching Texas powers Allen and Southlake Carroll clash.

Here are five storylines to watch on Sunday.

Talented DBs aplenty

It’s been said on multiple occasions that the 2014 class may be one of the strongest in years at producing big-time defensive backs in the region. The battle for defensive back MVP has the potential of being extremely competitive with players such as Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville), Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) and Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Roosevelt) expected to be in attendance. Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor) has committed to LSU, while Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) and Armani Watts (Forney, Texas/North Forney) have pledged to Texas A&M. Deionte Thompson (Orange, Texas/West Orange-Stark), a 2015 prospect, has verbally committed to Alabama. All of the DBs will have their shots in one-on-one drills against equally talented ESPN Watch List receivers such as Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis), K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) and Texas commit Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper).


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SAN ANTONIO -- ESPN 150 outside linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian) has been a hot topic of discussion for months. On Saturday, he became even more of a topic for the followers of BuckeyeNation.

Mitchell verbally committed to Ohio State and became the Buckeyes’ 21st commitment. The 6-foot-5, 222-pound linebacker chose Ohio State over Texas A&M and Oregon.

“I love the coaches, and it’s a really good opportunity for me to play early and play for a starting job,” Mitchell said. “I really feel good going to that school. I felt like I fit in really well.”

Ranked No. 121 in the ESPN 150, Mitchell was recruited by offensive coordinator Tom Herman.
GigEmNation's Sam Khan Jr. took questions from fans on Twitter for a mailbag in advance of today's AT&T Cotton Bowl clash between Texas A&M and Oklahoma. Here it is:

From Manziel Fan Club (@JFFootball2): Who do you think replaces EZ [Uzoma Nwachukwu] and Ryan Swope next year as starters. And [what will be] the role of Tra Carson and Brandon Williams next year?

[+] EnlargeJohnny Manziel
John David Mercer/US PresswireQB Johnny Manziel has had a whirlwind month since winning the Heisman Trophy.
Sam Khan Jr.: I think Malcome Kennedy's emergence throughout the season means he'll certainly be a candidate to take Swope's role next season. The Aggies have a ton of receivers coming in the current recruiting class but I think Kennedy has already proven that he deserves time on the field and as long as he continues to show progress in the spring, summer and fall camp, it should be his job to lose. As for Nwachukwu's spot, I imagine Sabian Holmes, Ed Pope and Derel Walker are all possibilities. They're all young and unproven but they all have ability. That could also be a spot where one of the new recruits has a chance to fight for a job, perhaps someone like Ja'Quay Williams or Ricky Seals-Jones. As for Carson and Williams, my guess would be that Williams steps into a role similar to what Christine Michael had this year as the secondary back and a guy who can go between the tackles or hit the outside. I expect Ben Malena will still be the starter next year. Williams has a ton of ability though and if he can hold on to the football, I could see him push for a decent amount of carries. He's an explosive player. Carson, with his big body, my guess is he could have a role as a short-yardage guy.

From Rusty Woolley (@RWoolley7780): Is Johnny Manziel still wearing a knee brace after the injury scare against Mizzou? Has he said if there are any lingering concerns?

Sam Khan Jr.: The knee doesn't seem to be an issue. Manziel didn't appear to have a knee brace on during the open-to-the-media portion of Sunday's practice (practices since then have been closed) and I haven't heard anything said about it. It wasn't deemed serious at the time and it shouldn't be a factor come game time.

From Brian (@vonderlic): Are there any Army All-Americans or Under Armour All-Americans that you expect to commit to A&M? I've read comments from people speculating.


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SAN ANTONIO -- Wednesday was a day off for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl teams. Instead of working out and participating in drills, the players took in visits around the city -- including a stop at the Alamodome for photo opportunities and to see their game apparel -- and used the day to recover from two days of practice.

The teams will return to the fields on Thursday in arguably the most important practice of the week. Here are five things to keep an eye on for Thursday’s practice:

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SAN ANTONIO -- ESPN 150 outside linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian) isn’t big on speaking publicly. He’d rather let his game do the talking -- and it speaks volumes.

On Monday, the 6-foot-5, 222-pound linebacker officially confirmed that he will announce his college plans during Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Oregon, Texas A&M and Ohio State are his three finalists.


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#BlueChipBattles: Dec. 21

December, 22, 2012
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Dee Liner, Reuben Foster, Tray MatthewsESPN.comReuben Foster (center) is torn between good friends Dee Liner (left) and Tray Matthews (right).

No. 1 ILB Reuben Foster has voiced his desire to play with at least one of his SEC-bound friends next season. But will he follow Tray Matthews to Georgia or hook up with Dee Liner wherever the ESPN 150 DL settles? It remains to be seen, but the mystery surrounding his recruitment keeps Foster at the top of our #BlueChipBattles.

Each week, RecruitingNation summons its writers from around the country to compile a list of the top 10 battles for elite football recruits leading up to February's signing day.

Here are this week's top battles Insider, and you can take a shot at ranking the top 10 recruiting battles on SportsNation.
By Jan. 5, Ohio State will have a much clearer picture of its linebacker situation in the recruiting class of 2013.


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Ken Mitchell didn’t hear anything about a commitment to Ohio State from his son, ESPN 150 outside linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian), following an official visit to Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend.

What he did hear was how much fun the 6-foot-4, 216-pound senior had this weekend.

“His first two words were 'crazy' and 'awesome,' ” Ken Mitchell said. “The first thing he did when he got there was spend time with Coach [Urban] Meyer. Then he went to the OSU basketball game. He said it was a great time.”

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How TAMU can sign 34 recruits for 2013 

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Now that Texas A&M's regular season is complete, coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have turned their full attention to recruiting, closing out the 2013 class and building on their 2014 haul, which already has begun with three commitments in the books.

With 31 commitments for the Class of 2013, the Aggies currently lead the nation in total commitments. And they're not finished yet, still in the hunt for some of their top remaining targets. Among the players the Aggies are still pursuing:


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SEC success opening doors for Aggies 

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There's one thing that's clear about Texas A&M's quick success in its first Southeastern Conference season. It has gotten the attention of recruits.

The Aggies already had 28 commitments before the season started but have added three 2013 commitments plus a 2014 commitment.

[+] EnlargeKenny Flowers
Courtesy of Hutchinson C.C.Juco linebacker Kenny Flowers is Texas A&M's only commitment since the season began.
Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite safety Kameron Miles, a 2013 prospect who on Wednesday decommitted from Tennessee and switched his commitment from Texas A&M that night, was the first pledge the Aggies have landed since their landmark victory over then-No. 1 Alabama. Four days later, they added City College of San Francisco offensive tackle Jeremiah Stuckey.

Even before that win, he was already having positive feelings about the Aggies, who offered him a little more than a week ago because of their success. But the Alabama win certainly sent a message about how competitive the Aggies are in their first year in the league and will be in the future.

"I've been watching them since their close game against LSU and now beating Alabama," Miles said after committing to the Aggies. "For a school to be that successful in their first year in the SEC, that's an accomplishment. That really impressed me."

The Aggies have picked up two other commitments since the season began -- Stuckey and Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College linebacker Kenny Flowers who committed on Nov. 2. And they've remained in the hunt for several of their top remaining targets, including ESPN 150 members Ricky Seals-Jones, Justin Manning, Mike Mitchell and Isaac Savaiinaea. While the Aggies have made their impressions on each of those young men when they visited College Station, Texas, there's no doubt the on-field success has only helped their recruiting efforts.

"They're probably going to win Texas now," said Seals-Jones' father, Chester Jones, of the Aggies' momentum. "In the recruiting wars in the next four-to-five years, they'll probably be the top recruiting college in the state of Texas."


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Each week, GigEmNation reporter Sam Khan Jr. will bring you five things he learned from watching high school football action in the Midlands region that week, including observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players that catch his attention. Here's this week's installment:

1. It's easy to see why Plano (Texas) Prestonwood linebacker Mike Mitchell is such a coveted prospect. The ESPN 150 outside linebacker, who has a final four of Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas A&M, is skilled, athletic and seems to be around the ball constantly. The Lions' opponent on Friday, Tomball (Texas) Concordia Lutheran, ran a triple-option offense that was well executed and hard to defend because of that. As Mitchell got in a groove he made an impact, recording 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He's also quick and athletic enough that the Lions used him as a kickoff return man and he even lined up on offense a couple of times. He limped off the field late in the fourth quarter and left the game the stadium with his leg wrapped in ice after suffering an injury that he played most of the night through, but the nation's 10th-ranked outside linebacker appears to have plenty of tools. According to his father Ken Mitchell, the injury could keep the linebacker out for Prestonwood's next playoff game.

[+] EnlargeMike Mitchell
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comESPN 150 linebacker Mike Mitchell has narrowed down his list to four schools and will take visits after the season.
2. Prestonwood has plenty of other worthy prospects. Obviously Christian Morgan, the three-star tight end prospect, is one of them. The Mississippi commitment is big, athletic and relentless when chasing the quarterback (he plays defensive end in addition to tight end for Prestonwood). Also, 2016 prospect Michael Irvin Jr., the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, has impressive size for his age (6-2, 190). Look for him to emerge as a prospect on the radar of many colleges in the future. The Lions also have a 2015 prospect in quarterback Mickey Mitchell, who excels on both the gridiron and the basketball court, but he did not play and will miss the remainder of the season because of a torn ACL suffered on Nov. 2.

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Kameron MilesDamon Sayles/ESPN.comKameron Miles, who committed to Texas A&M on Wednesday, isn't likely to be the only recruit to switch his committment from another school to the Aggies.

Earlier this week, when speaking about the impact the current buzz around Texas A&M's football team after its win over Alabama, head coach Kevin Sumlin uttered a handful of interesting words.

"Our phone is ringing off the hook at this point," he said.

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As the Oregon Ducks try to piece together a huge recruiting weekend, one of the rumored visitors was LB Mike Mitchell of Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian Academy. The No. 121 player in the ESPN 150 has the Ducks among his top four schools, along with Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The Ducks currently trail favorite Ohio State, as well as the Sooners and the Aggies, and seem like a long shot. By Mitchell's own admission, the Ducks are running fourth, but mostly due to the fact that he knows less about them than his other finalists.

[+] EnlargeMike Mitchell
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comContrary to some reports, LB Mike Mitchell won't be visiting Oregon this weekend.
Mitchell was rumored to be heading to Oregon for an official visit this weekend. But like so many other potential visitors, Mitchell is focused on the playoffs and will not make the trip to Eugene according to his father, Ken.

"I'm not sure where that rumor came from really. He is only focused on football right now. During the football season it's really just school work and football for Mike," Ken Mitchell said. "I believe he has been in contact with Oregon but he will not be visiting there this weekend or any other weekend until his season is over."

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Texas A&M's upset win over No. 1 Alabama sent shockwaves through the Southeastern Conference and the college football landscape.

For the Aggies to make their first-ever trip Bryant-Denny Stadium and defeat the favored, defending BCS champions sent a statement to the rest of the league that the Aggies are not here to be a doormat.

Ed Paris
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comEd Paris, a 2014 CB prospect, was impressed with A&M's win over Alabama, but knows it can't be the only thing affecting his decision.
The impact of the 29-24 victory wasn't just felt on the field for Texas A&M, it also caught the attention of recruits everywhere.

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GigEmNation writer Sam Khan Jr. chatted with readers on Friday about Texas A&M football and recruiting. Here's the full transcript of the chat. The Aggies begin a three-game SEC road stretch on Saturday night when they take on Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

GJ (West Houston): It seems to me like DaMontre Moore is getting a bit overlooked by some of the media. I've seen some lists for SEC DPOY that didn't even have him in the top three. Seems absurd considering he has been the most productive DL in the country so far.
Sam Khan Jr.: GJ, there's a lot of talent in the SEC, but if Moore is not in the top three of someone's vote for SEC Defensive Player of the Year, it's my opinion that they aren't paying close attention. You could argue competition level for some of his production, but two of his best games this year came against the Aggies' two toughest opponents: Florida and LSU. I don't see how he can't be considered a frontrunner for that award. He has played at an extremely high level and honestly, right now, he's playing like an early round NFL draft pick. I know that our draft experts at ESPN have certainly kept their eyes on him because of the way he has played.

Evan (CS): It seems like A&M has about four remaining HS guys (Manning, Mitchell, RSJ, and Savaiinaea) that they are still going after to wrap up this 2013 class. Is there anyone else that has been kept under wraps that they're still pursuing and do you think they land any of these four?
Sam Khan Jr.: Of the high school 2013 guys there are some others besides those four that they're still pursuing. Mackensie Alexander, a five-star cornerback from Florida, is one of them. He was at the LSU game last week and still has other visits to take but he's one they're chasing. Also, Oklahoma LB commit Jordan Mastrogiovanni is one they're still recruiting. He also attended the LSU game. Another name of someone who will visit later in the year is Upland (California) DE Joe Mathis. As for the four you mentioned, I do think they land one or two of those. I'd guess Ricky Seals-Jones is one of the ones they land and if I had to guess another, I'd flip a coin between Manning and Savaiinaea (I'll say Manning).

Rene (College Station): Chances A&M puts three guys in top 15 in this year's draft? (Moore, Joeckel, Matthews)
Sam Khan Jr.: I'd say it's unlikely all three happen to go that high. First, I'm not sure that all three will declare for the draft. But if we are to assume that all three declare, I think it's possible all three are first-round picks, but not necessarily top 15. I think the two tackles are in good shape to go high. I would like to see more draft experts evaluate Moore, because it's kind of difficult to gauge where scouts sit with him right now. Clearly, he's winning a lot of supporters because of his play. How that's balanced out with last year's performance, size, then whatever he would do at things like the combine are all things that would factor into whether he could vault that high. But I don't see why, if the season ended today, he couldn't be someone picked in the top couple of rounds.

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