On Monday, we took a look at one of Virginia Tech’s top targets for the Class of 2018 in quarterback Dakereon Joyner. Today, we’ll examine one of the best players in the state of Virginia — Teradja Mitchell.
Mitchell is a bona fide 4-star linebacker out of Bishop Sullivan High School in Virginia Beach, VA. The 247Sports Composite ranking has him listed as the 27th-best player in the country and the nation’s top inside linebacker for 2018. He’s the second-best player in the state of Virginia, behind only Ricky Slade.
Mitchell has been watched by the nation’s elite programs for a while now. Mitchell has 31 reported scholarship offers to this point, mostly from Power 5 schools. He whittled his remaining schools to 11 on Signing Day, and the list is nothing to scoff at — Florida, Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Penn State, USC, Florida State and Virginia Tech.
Few people play against the run better than Mitchell. He easily shoots gaps and makes big hits on ball carriers, sometimes forcing fumbles. He also has great instincts, and at 6-foot-2, 232-pounds, Mitchell has the size and strength to take on blockers and move the line of scrimmage.
Mitchell’s size does have it’s drawbacks. He doesn’t show elite speed when getting to the sideline to defend screens or short passes. Against spread offenses who emphasize spreading the field, Mitchell could find himself getting run ragged from sideline to sideline. That said, he shows good coverage skills when in zone and just has a knack for making plays.
It’d be hard to discuss Mitchell without bringing up the Bishop Sullivan connection and Virginia Tech’s presence in the 757 area of Virginia. Two weeks before Signing Day, it looked like the Hokies had broken through. Tech held commitments from 4-star wide receiver Tahj Capehart and potential 5-star defensive back Tayvion Land. Then, Capehart flipped his commitment to Maryland on Signing Day and Land reopened his recruitment.
While the facts behind Capehart’s recruitment remain murky, one thing is clear — Virginia Tech still has work to do with Bishop Sullivan and the 757. Mitchell, an elite recruit in his own right, could be the key to setting things right and to continue Tech’s momentum from landing 4-star safety Devon Hunter.
Landing him won’t be easy. Mitchell will take plenty of visits this summer to his remaining schools and Florida State seems to have the inside track. Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State are other programs to keep an eye out for. If Virginia Tech can land an official visit in the fall, anything can happen, but it will be a tough battle for Mitchell’s signature.
Fortunately for Virginia Tech, they are in good position with other linebackers if things do not go well with Mitchell. Dax Hollifield and Keshon Artis are both high on the Hokies and Virginia Tech has offers out to other linebackers as well. Tech has taken seven linebackers in the last two recruiting classes, and therefore will likely only take two at the most in the Class of 2018.