October 16, 2007

WR Mitchell becoming a legitimate threat

Entering the 2007 season, Taurus Johnson and Amarri Jackson were USF's only proven receivers. Behind them was a bevy of talented youngsters who would be the wildcard in USF's passing game - and perhaps none dealt coaches a more unpredictable hand than Carlton Mitchell.

As a redshirt scout team player in 2006, the Tampa Gaither High product was a bit of an enigma. Mitchell displayed size, speed and nearly unmatched athleticism, but it wasn't clear if he'd be able to consistently catch the football.

Although he admits he still has a ways to go in that area, Mitchell has transformed himself into a legitimate third or fourth option for USF quarterback Matt Grothe.

"I was pretty nervous in practice as a freshman. I was shaking. There was so much going through my head. But in the spring and summer we saw each other every day and everything fell in place," Mitchell said. "I worked in the weight room and got my strength up and worked on my flexibility with the track team."

The outcome, even though he remains a work in progress, has paid early dividends for the Bulls. Mitchell is fourth on the team with 11 receptions, third in yardage (215 yards), leads in yards per catch (19.5) and has grabbed two touchdown passes. The first of his career gave USF breathing room in a defining win against West Virginia. His second, a 75-yarder last week against UCF, was the fourth longest scoring reception in school history.

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