Terrence Mitchell leaving USF Bulls football program
Terrence Mitchell, The Tampa Tribune’s male athlete of the year in 2010 and one of the highest-rated recruits in University of South Florida history, will transfer from USF to Division II Fort Hays State in Kansas, where he can play immediately.
“We are ecstatic,’’ said Fort Hays State assistant Al McCray, who was Mitchell’s position coach at Hillsborough High School. “He’s a major, major talent. He was productive for USF and he will be productive for us.’’
Mitchell, USF’s second-leading receiver last season who was ticketed for a switch to cornerback, was suspended indefinitely by Bulls coach Willie Taggart prior to spring practice. It followed Mitchell’s arrest on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession. He has since entered a pretrial misdemeanor intervention program, where first-time offenders can have charges dropped after completing a probationary period of drug counseling and random drug testing.
Mitchell, who will have two years of eligibility at Fort Hays State, was suspended along with wide receiver Chris Dunkley and Bradley Battles. Taggart said it was possible for the players to return this fall if they met stipulations that he declined to specify.
Mitchell, exclusively playing wide receiver, caught 31 passes for 414 yards in 2012. After flipping his commitment from Florida State to USF following the hiring of Skip Holtz in 2010, Mitchell was a freshman All-American as a punt returner.
At Hillsborough – and USF – Mitchell was known as “T-Rex,’’ a nickname that stuck from youth football, where he delivered a blow, then stood over the fallen player and growled like a dinosaur. Mitchell had recurring concussion problems at Hillsborough and USF, where he missed the final eight games of 2011 after being knocked cold, then hospitalized overnight after a hit against UTEP.
“We’ll play him at cornerback, but he will undoubtedly play on both sides of the ball for us,’’ said McCray, whose school has served as a landing point for several other former Tampa Bay area stars, such as the late wide receiver O.J. Murdock (Middleton) and quarterback Taurean Austin (Hillsborough). “Leaving USF is not the end of the world for him. It might be just the beginning.’’
Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations