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Hillsborough's Mitchell suddenly goes from Nole to Bull

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Fri. January 29, 2010 | Eduardo A. Encina

Hillsborough defensive back Terrence Mitchell, one of the bay area's top recruits, has decommitted from Florida State and instead given his verbal pledge to USF.

Terriers coach Earl Garcia said new USF coach Skip Holtz made an in-home visit with Mitchell on Thursday night and he committed Friday morning.

"I think it's a major coup for USF," Garcia said. "I think Skip's charm and enthusiasm won over the family, and they'll only have to go to West Tampa (Raymond James Stadium) to watch him play."

Earlier this month, Mitchell, ranked the seventh-best cornerback recruit in the nation according to Rivals.com, committed to Florida State, saying the Seminoles always showed the most interest in him and were one of the first programs to recruit him.

He had always considered USF as one of his favorites, especially considering the proximity and the opportunity to play with his cousin, former Hillsborough running back Lindsey Lamar, but the Bulls’ coaching switch happened at the most inopportune time and Mitchell pledged to Florida State.

"I think the coaching change at USF was really the catalyst," Garcia said. "When he committed (to FSU), USF was still in the middle of their coaching search. Him and Lindsey are good friends and I know he enjoys being in Tampa."

Holtz didn’t give up on the 5-foot-10,170-pound speedster. USF made an immediate pull for Mitchell. Hillsborough defensive backs coach Preston Jackson said Mitchell "fell in love" with the Bulls' new staff and he would have the opportunity to play early at USF. Playing with Lamar, as well as former Armwood standout Ryne Giddins, was also key.

He becomes USF's highest rated recruit in this year's class, according to Rivals.com.

-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (eencina@sptimes.com)

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