High School: Eleanor Roosevelt (Corona, CA)
2013 review: A fumble recovery and an interception against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Gator Bowl – Josh Mitchell gave his best performance when the Huskers needed it most, exciting fans for what could be in 2014.
The California native started six contests at cornerback; finishing second on the team in pass breakups with 31 tackles and a few quarterback hurries on the year.
Mitchell has seen a lot of adjectives by his name over the years, but lately the words “scrappy and tenacious” come up most. After starting 15 games in the course of his career, Mitchell is the elder statesman at the cornerback spot - a leadership position he seemed to thrive at during the spring.
Not lacking any confidence, Mitchell is the type of corner who brings a little swagger to the football field, something that will likely make him a fan favorite in 2014.
Ask head coach Bo Pelini what he thinks of Josh Mitchell. He will tell you the senior is going to have a big year. Pelini will point out how he loves Mitchell’s competitiveness and enthusiasm. But, rewind three years ago. Mitchell and Pelini haven’t always been on the same page. The head coach talked about the senior’s evolution in the program at Big Ten Media Days."At one point, he was hanging by a thread in this program - I told him that," said Pelini. “We had some run-ins. He was one of those guys - he thought he knew better.
“He thought he could get by doing it his way. He was stubborn. But he eventually figured out that ‘maybe I do need to listen to the guys that have more experience than I do.’ He basically grew up.”
Judging by some of Pelini’s comments, Mitchell might not just be a fan favorite.
“I’m unbelievably proud of him,” said Pelini. "That kid has not only matured, but he's become a real leader. A bell cow for how we do things. If you would have told me that three or four years ago, I would have told you that you were crazy.
”I’m not sitting here pounding my chest. Josh Mitchell is a perfect example of why what we are doing as a program works. Josh is a great kid. I’m proud of that young man. Josh Mitchell is going to have a great senior year, but he’s ready to out in the world and be tremendously successful. I believe that.”
BRR projection: Jonathan Rose and Byerson Cockrell are starting Big Ten caliber corners, but make no mistake about it – Mitchell will start every game for the Huskers this season barring injury and be the top corner. He’s also got the talent to find himself on an All-Big Ten team by the end of the year. Quarterbacks have tried to pick on Mitchell over the years. Nebraska fans should hope they do it again. Judging by the way he looked in spring practices, the 5-foot-11 corner will make them think otherwise in a hurry.
A four-year starter in high school, Mitchell had 14 career interceptions, including five his senior year to go along with 41 tackles. Despite having a brother already in the college ranks and being the offspring of Mario Mitchell (former NFL defensive back), many schools shied away from the senior due to his size. It didn’t bother the Pelini brothers.