Urban Meyer was able to infiltrate Virginia and successfully convince Teradja Mitchell, the No. 2 inside linebacker in the country (No. 1 player from Virginia), to play up north for the Ohio State Buckeyes. As mentioned, Ohio State had to battle the likes of Florida State, Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Michigan for his services, and they prevailed.
Mitchell is the prototypical, hard-hitting inside linebacker who excels against the run. On tape, Mitchell resembles a previous five-star inside linebacker recruit under Urban Meyer: Raekwon McMillan. Like McMillan, Mitchell possesses great instincts in the run game, and hits like a Mack Truck. He has the football IQ to recognize the play, fight through the rubbish and meet the ball carrier right away. When he meets the ball carrier, he wraps up and drives through the body. Mitchell is an extremely violent tackler who makes his presence felt in the run game.
Like McMillan coming out of high school, Mitchell does not have a ton of experience in the passing game, which makes it look like he’s vulnerable in that area. In regards to Raekwon, contrary to popular belief, the former Buckeye excelled on all three downs and the superb Ohio State defensive coaching staff put him in the right place to succeed. The passing game will be a knock on Mitchell when he arrives on campus, but as an underclassmen, Greg Schiano will utilize his plus-instincts to blitz and rush the passer. Right now it’s tough to see how he would matchup one-on-one with an elite college running back or tight end, but he does possess sideline-to-sideline speed which would indicate an ability to cover at this level. If there was an area to keep an eye on during Mitchell’s senior year, it would be his pass coverage against backs and tight ends.
At 6-foot-2, 232 pounds, Mitchell is already built like a college linebacker. Of course, after some time with Mickey Marotti and the Ohio State weight training program, Mitchell will be rock solid and ready to contribute right away. Like Raekwon McMillan, Teradja Mitchell is a day-one contributor on special teams and would be able to make his presence felt as a true freshman on defense. Since he would be a likely candidate to arrive early on campus, expect Mitchell to catch the eye of Greg Schiano and find a way to implement a role for him on defense.
With Chris Worley ready to depart after the 2017 season, the Buckeyes were able to reload and land the next great middle linebacker at Ohio State.