10 June 2008
| Lionel Mitchell - #16 - CB - 6-2 - 182 lbs - Stone Mountain, GA - Hargrave Military - 2 Varsity Letters
Lionel has gone from being a starter, to being buried on the depth chart, to starting, and back again. Some of that has been because of performance, some because of injury, and some because of discipline. While he has good size for a CB at 6’2, what he lacks is the physicality required by Nick Saban at that position.
Lionel headed into the 2007 spring practice as the presumptive starter opposite Simeon Castille at CB. But under Nick Saban, those presumptions are never a good idea. In a sign of what is likely to occur at several other positions over the next few seasons, an incoming freshman (in this case Kareem Jackson
) simply had more talent. Jackson, being an early enrollee from Prep School , was able to participate in spring practice, and by the time fall camp opened in August, Mitchell was relegated to the #3 CB.
Because of the amount of nickel coverage employed by Nick Saban and Kevin Steele last year, Mitchell still played a lot at CB, with Simeon Castille playing the “Star”. Injuries, suspensions, and mediocre performance hounded him all season, however, and he’ll likely be remembered most for Matthew Stafford’s game winning TD pass for Georgia floating in just over his out-stretched arms.
2008 Prospectus: A back injury kept him out of most of the spring, and that injury makes him a prime candidate for attrition if he can not get healthy. If he is able to return, he’ll battle Javier Arenas
, Marquis Johnson
, Chris Rogers
, Alonzo Lawrence
, Robby Green
& Robert Lester
for time at the Left Cornerback and Nickelback (Star) positions. His experience gives him a leg up on all of those guys, and with Arenas the most likely candidate for the Star position, if healthy, Mitchell probably plays LCB in the nickel package. If he suffers from the same inconsistencies that plagued him in 2007, look for him to quickly fall behind talented freshman Lawrence.
Next up tomorrow: Jonathan Lowe