Mike Mitchell #23 FS
Height: 6-1 Weight: 221 Age: 29
Born: 6/10/1987 Fort Thomas , KY
College: Ohio U.
Experience: 9th season
High School: Highlands HS [Fort Thomas, KY]
Selected By: Oakland Raiders
Pick (Overall): 15 (47)
The hard-hitting, versatile defender has outstanding quickness and good power, showing that he can come up and make plays inside the box. He began his career as a free safety, shifting to strong safety during the 2006 GMAC Bowl, where he would line up for his final 22 games. Few safeties in the collegiate ranks showed the acceleration and closing speed that Mitchell possesses.
That speed was put to great use as a Bobcat. He would go on to register 212 tackles (126 solos), with 90 of those hits coming in run support, including 15 that he recorded behind the line of scrimmage. He also proved to be a steady ball hawk, defending 20 passes during his career and generating 140 yards on seven interception returns.
Mitchell was a well-rounded and respected student at Highlands High School, where he was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. On the field, he lettered three times, twice earning Kentucky All-Star honors, in addition to being selected All-State honorable mention as a senior. That year, he led the Bluebirds to the state title, recording 87 tackles with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, returning one for a touchdown.
Mitchell enrolled at Ohio University in 2005, seeing action in nine games at both safety positions as a true freshman. He delivered 21 tackles (16 solos) with a forced fumble and two pass deflections while playing mostly behind Todd Koenig at strong safety.
As a sophomore, he shifted to free safety at midseason, as the coaches wanted to get him and Koenig on the field at the same time. He started the team's final eight games, but shifted to strong safety for the GMAC Bowl. He finished fifth on the team with 55 tackles (27 solos) that included five stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also picked off a pair of passes and deflected two others.
In 2007, Mitchell took over strong safety duties, starting all 11 games he played in. He missed the Louisiana-Lafayette clash due to a right shoulder contusion and played in the last four contests wearing a cast to protect a broken bone in his right hand. He still managed to rank third on the squad with 74 tackles (47 solos), adding 1.5 sacks while knocking down four passes and intercepting two others.
The injury bug hit again in 2008, as Mitchell missed most of the Buffalo game and sat out vs. Bowling Green with a knee sprain. He placed fourth on the squad with 62 tackles (36 solos), making 4.5 stops for loss while causing two fumbles. He had five pass deflections and led the team with three interceptions.