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Football notebook: Mitchell sticking with Ga. Tech

Football notebook: Mitchell sticking with Ga. Tech

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By Phil Anastasia

Every time Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick baffled NFL defenses with their legs as well as their arms, Damon Mitchell looked more like a quarterback.

The 6-3, 205-pound Mitchell, a senior at Cedar Creek, committed to attend Georgia Tech on a football scholarship in July because the Atlantic Coast Conference program was the only team to recruit him as quarterback.

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Every other school projected him as a defensive back in college.

That changed after Mitchell ran for 21 touchdowns and passed for 22 in leading Cedar Creek to a 10-2 record -- and maybe after those mobile quarterbacks took the NFL by storm.

"Now everybody looks at him as quarterback," Cedar Creek coach Tim Watson said.

Mitchell said Thursday night that he remains committed to attend Georgia Tech. He cancelled a recruiting visit this weekend to Boston College, where former Temple coach Steve Addazio was making a late push for his services.

Mitchell also has a scholarship offer from Arkansas, a Southeastern Conference program that recently hired former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema.

Mitchell visited Wisconsin in the fall, when Bielema still was the Badgers' coach.

Mitchell also has made an unofficial recruiting visit to Rutgers.

"It's pretty settled," Mitchell said of his decision to stick with Georgia Tech.

Mitchell was visited this week at Cedar Creek by Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, whose triple-option offense could be a showcase for Mitchell's running ability.

Watson hopes that Georgia Tech also takes advantage of Mitchell's burgeoning ability to pass and read defenses.

"He's only played quarterback for a couple years," Watson said. "He's made so much progress as a passer, as a guy who studies the game."

Mitchell said he planned to sign with Georgia Tech on National Signing Day, Feb. 6.

"I think if I go there (Georgia Tech) that I will be able to dfevelop to the best of my abilities," Mitchell said.

SPECIAL SCRIMMAGE

St. Joseph will scrimmage national power Don Bosco Prep Aug. 26 at the Iron Mikes' field in Ramsey, Bergen County.

"We need to get ready to play in the bigger division," said St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco, whose team will compete for the second year in a row in the Cape-Atlantic American Division.

St. Joseph went 10-1 last season and won the American Division title as well as the Non- Public 1 state championship. The Wildcats project as a young but talented team in 2013, with strength in their sophomore and junior classes.

"We're going to see what our young kids can do," Sacco said of the scrimmage against Don Bosco Prep, which is regarded as perhaps the permier high school program in the country.

The Iron Mikes were 8-3 last season and lost to Bergen Catholic in the Non-Public 4 semifinals. But in the previous seven seasons, Don Bosco was 81-2.

"It should be a good experience for our kids," Sacco said. "My only concern is that we're scheduled to scrimmage Shawnee that Thursday (Aug. 29) and that's two very tough opponents in a short period of time."

CARR HONORED

Penns Grove coach Kemp Carr, who led the Red Devils to a 12-0 record and the South Jersey Group 1 title as well as a state-record 621 points, will be honored as Coach of the Year at the South Jersey Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame banquet.

The event, which honors top scholar-athletes from football teams in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties as well as Southern Regional in Ocean County, wil be held Feb. 24 at the Carriage House restaurant in Galloway Township.

Villanova wide receiver Norman White, a St. Joseph graduate, will be honored as college Player of the Year.

The following football players will be recognized for their achievements on the field and in the classroom:  Emil Robinson (Absegami), Robert Lowe (Atlantic City), Dom DeFoor (Buena), Ben Keating (Cedar Creek), Gabe Hemighaus (Cumberland), Joe Valenti (Egg Harbor), Christian Mortellite (Hammonton) and Liam Nolan (Holy Spirit).

Also, Jackson Sole (Lower Cape May), Colin O'Shea (Mainland), Zack Vogelei (Middle Twp.), Josh Mercado (Millville), Mike Petursky (Oakcrest) and JJ Filangieri (Ocean City).

Also, Nick Elmer (Penns Grove), Alex Stewart (Schalick), Mike Munto (Southern), Cavin Cass (St. Augustine), Luke Ordille (St. Joseph), Toure Douglas (Vineland), Evan Thame (Wildwood) and Pat McCurdy (Woodstown).

RECRUITING BUZZ

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien visited Timber Creek this week and met with Chargers coach Rob Hinson.

O'Brien is believed to have strong recruiting interest in junior wide receiver Adonis Jennings and sophomore defensive back Kareem Ali, although the Nittany Lions have not made an offer to either player. Both players have offers from Temple.

Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.

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About this blog
Born and raised in South Jersey, Phil Anastasia prefers standing on the sidelines at high school football games on Friday nights to sitting in the press box at Eagles games on Sunday afternoons. He’s a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in English. Reach Phil at panastasia@phillynews.com.

Phil Anastasia Inquirer Columnist
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