Advertisement

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: FREDDIE MITCHELL

 
Published Nov. 20, 1999|Updated Sept. 30, 2005

Freddie Mitchell leads UCLA with 33 receptions and is expected to be a prime target today at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, where the Bruins take on cross-town rival USC.

But excuse Mitchell if his mind wanders elsewhere, some 3,000 miles away, specifically to Gainesville. Mitchell was a star receiver at Lakeland's Kathleen High and was recruited by both UF and FSU. And he has many friends on both teams.

"Football is everything down there," Mitchell said this week from California. "Here, there's a lot more distractions, a lot of other sports. They don't take football as seriously here. They might not actually play a football game until junior high school. In some cases, not until senior high. I played my first organized football game when I was 6 years old."

In 1996, during his senior year in high school, Mitchell stood on the sidelines of both Florida and Florida State during key games, a guest of each school during recruiting visits.

"When Bobby Bowden and Steve Spurrier call you on Christmas Day and wish you a merry Christmas, that makes you feel special," Mitchell said. "That's what it's all about, right there."

Mitchell also visited Miami and Michigan State but had not made up his mind. With one visit remaining, he decided to check out California and looked at UCLA.

"I loved this campus," he said. "Everything was clean, everything was safe. I thought it would be a good place to go.

"Everybody at home was on me to stay, and my parents didn't like the idea of me being so far away. Nobody from there ever does anything like come to school out here. That's one reason I wanted to, to be different."

As a redshirt freshman in 1998, Mitchell threw and caught touchdown passes against Texas. He broke his leg the next week against Houston and did not return until UCLA's Rose Bowl game against Wisconsin, where he threw for another touchdown.

Mitchell said he finally is into the UCLA-USC rivalry, something that took a little getting used to. The Bruins are trying for their ninth straight victory over USC. But he'll be wondering about UF-FSU.

"I got the tape machine ready at home," he said. "It's programmed right now."

THE NAKED TRUTH

Ron Dayne set the NCAA Division I-A record in the second quarter of Saturday's game against Iowa. He took a handoff, went off right guard, cut to the right and was off for 31 yards, giving him 107 for the day to pass Texas' Ricky Williams. There was still 4:32 left in the first half.

As Dayne and his teammates celebrated, a streaker with a red wig came out of the far end zone of Camp Randall Stadium and ran the length of the field into the waiting arms of security. Along the way he paused at about the 20 and did the Heisman pose.

Career Division I-A rushing leaders:

Ron Dayne Wisconsin 6,397

Ricky Williams Texas 6,279

Tony Dorsett Pittsburgh 6,082

Charles White USC 5,598

Herschel Walker Georgia 5,259

DAY OF RECKONING

There is more than just Florida-Florida State. Rivalry games abound today. Here is a handful of some of today's games between long-time adversaries:

Big Game: Stanford at California.

Civil War: Oregon State at Oregon.

Apple Cup: Washington State at Washington.

Iron Bowl: Alabama at Auburn.

Old Oaken Bucket: Purdue at Indiana.

No name needed: Ohio State at Michigan, UCLA at USC.

IT AIN'T HEAVY

Sean Young of Tunnel Hill, Ga., was one of the recruits visiting Arkansas last weekend when the Razorbacks upset Tennessee, knocking the Vols out of national championship contention. Young, 6 feet 7 and 283 pounds, is considered one of the top 10 offensive line prospects in the country.

He got so caught up in the excitement that he helped carry the goal posts around the field at Razorbacks Stadium after the game.

"I had a ball," Young said. "I didn't want to leave. It was great."

Young said he and a high school teammate had to carry the goal posts because "if we didn't move them, we were going to get killed by them. We were right in the middle with everybody."

It should be noted that Young also is being recruited by Tennessee.

QUOTABLE

"The only advice I gave players was not to stand next to Coach (Brad) Scott on Saturday. I told Brad he could use both my policemen for protection." _ Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, on his assistant Brad Scott entering today's game at South Carolina, where Scott used to be the head coach.

_ Extra Points compiled by Bob Harig.