Miguel Mitchell, defensive back
School: Oxford (Ala.)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 205 pounds
On3 Consensus Ranking: Three-star, No. 985 (national), No. 88 (position)
Miguel Mitchell’s road to the University of Florida was a winding path characterized by a late surge from the new staff.
Ranked as a three-star prospect according to On3 Consensus rankings, Mitchell was significantly skimmed over for the better portion of his process.
With Vanderbilt being the headliner of his offer sheet last summer, he committed to the Commodores just a few days following the visit. He held that pledge until early November when he started to align himself with Northwestern.
A December 3rd visit signaled the likelihood of him signing with the Wildcats until his conversations with programs like LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Oregon and USC began. Despite not having an offer from those schools, he elected to give himself an extra month and a half to make a decision.
Receiving an offer from UF from Billy Napier and Co. in late December, when the influx of offers from the schools mentioned above rolled in, Mitchell started to show immediate interest in the opportunity Florida provided for his future.
His reconnection with the coaching staff that had pursued the talented Alabama native during their stint at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette placed the Gators in a firm position for the high upside talent.
In the end, Florida would be in a battle with Tennessee for his services. Planning two official visits in January for his top two — the first to Gainesville and the second to Knoxville — the safety was slated to see what each program had in store if he was to choose their school.
Florida wowed on the first weekend, and he never made it to Knoxville.
With the Gators staff galvanizing Mitchell during his January 14-16 stay, the Oxford (Ala.) product announced his commitment to the Gators on Jan. 16, effectively shutting down his recruitment for good.
He signed with the Gators on Feb. 2 and enrolled at UF on May 22.
Where Mitchell Fits
One of the biggest focal points for the Gators' transition recruiting class was based in the secondary to haul in talented defensive backs for defensive coordinator and safeties coach Patrick Toney to deploy at his discretion.
Mitchell fills the need for depth in the unit.
Joining blue-chip safety Kamari Wilson as the members of the 2022 class who will occupy spots in the last line of defense, Mitchell provides the versatility to be a Swiss-army knife-like piece.
The Toney defense is one that can highlight that skill set.
When Mitchell visited in January, he left Gainesville with the view that he could thrive in the defensive back-oriented system Toney brings to the table.
“I'll kinda just get in where I fit in when I get there, so if I have to move around that will be no problem at all," he told AllGators following the official visit to UF.
While he may not have the opportunity to see early playing in his Florida career — due to the returning talent the Gators sport in his unit and the lack of technical polish he presents at the position — Mitchell’s athleticism and ability to move around the defense can be a luxury when his time comes.
Until then, Mitchell — like others who are being groomed for an eventual contributing role — will likely occupy a spot on special teams.
His adequate speed and functional tackling ability project him to be a solid gunner on the kicking and punting units. Mitchell can help bolster the third phase of the game following a tumultuous year.
His contribution in that aspect will be sorely needed as a result.
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