T-Rex u-turn: Mitchell drops FSU, picks USF
Five days before national signing day, there's been a huge turn of events for USF's recruiting class, as Terrence "T-Rex" Mitchell, prized cornerback from Hillsborough High, has backed out of a commitment to Florida State and decided to sign with the Bulls on Wednesday.
"It's the home team, and Terrence is a kid that likes to stick around the house," Hillsborough head coach Earl Garcia said. "It's a big, big coup for South Florida, for Carl Franks and Skip Holtz and the whole gang. What I think sets him apart from others is that he has the great athleticism coupled with a great work ethic and character. He's been a joy to coach here."
Garcia said Mitchell changed his mind after getting a home visit from Holtz on Thursday evening.
"It's a shock, but no matter which school he picked, he couldn't go wrong," said Hillsborough assistant Alonzo Ashwood. "Once he sat down with Skip Holtz, once he talked with the defensive coordinator and the DBs coach, he knew he had his best friend (freshman running back Lindsey Lamar) there, it got to feel like home cooking for him."
Mitchell, who had committed to FSU two weeks ago, is a four-star recruit according to Rivals.com and Scout.com, rated as the No. 7 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com and No. 12 by Scout.
He gives the Bulls an impact signing at a key position, and taking him away from FSU is much like the Bulls' luring Kayvon Webster away from Miami last year. Along the same lines, the Bulls had Frostproof cornerback Nickell Robey, previously a Georgia commitment, in for a midweek visit this week, and he's now considering the Bulls as he makes an official visit to Southern Cal this weekend.
Ashwood said Mitchell's commitment to USF could help the Bulls land another key recruit -- Miami Northwestern defensive tackle Todd Chandler, who went to Tampa's Jennings Middle School with Mitchell before moving to Miami, could now be back in USF's fold after backing out of a commitment to the Bulls.
Chandler and Mitchell are both members of ESPNU's national top 150 list -- Chandler is No. 67 and Mitchell is No. 144.
-- One more note -- the Times' Eduardo A. Encina reports that Hillsborough tight end Jordan Duval, the Terriers' second-leading receiver in 2009, has accepted a spot as a preferred walk-on at USF.