Former Junior quarterback Brandon Mitchell proved his worth as a wide receiver last weekend as he helped the Hogs to a 49-24 win against Jacksonville State to open the 2012 football season in Fayetteville.
Mitchell tallied 122 yards on four catches in his first start as a wide receiver for the Razorbacks, and head coach John Smith said he was not surprised.
“He is very athletic and faster than most people think,” Coach Smith said. “Those big long legs are chewing up a lot of grass. I think as fans look at it, it might be a little bit of a surprise to them. From our standpoint, it was not a surprise. We expect him to be very good. Good outing for a guy’s first try out of the blocks.”
After watching from behind the New England Patriot’s quarterback Ryan Mallet and senior starting quarterback Tyler Wilson, Mitchell has been more than determined to get on the field anyway he can.
“It’s something me and Tyler talked about,” Mitchell said. “Just trying to get all the best athletes on the field at the same time. Then it kind of helps from being a quarterback. This is my first time playing receiver in my life.”
The Razorbacks lost two key offensive players this year to pursue careers in the NFL.
Jarius Wright is with the Minnesota Vikings. He left the Hogs with the school record for catches (168) and receptions (2,934) during his tenure with the Razorbacks.
Joe Adams led the NCAA in punt return touchdowns (four) and was ranked second in the NCAA in average yards a return (16.89).
With Adams and Wright gone, Mitchell took the opportunity when it presented itself, even though it was going to be his first time out there.
“With all the receivers leaving last year, they (the opponents) thought they’re going to have to focus on just Chris Gragg and Cobi Hamilton. Now we have more weapons out there.”
One of those weapons, Cobi Hamilton, did not continue play shortly after beginning the first quarter. it only presented more opportunity for Mitchell.
“I think Brandon did a good job coming up big for us,” running back Knile Davis said. “I told him that I watched him on film and that he did a good job steeping up and catching the ball for us.”
The Razorbacks will play the University of Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday in Little Rock, Ark., at War Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.