On Saturday night, Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson four-star cornerback Tony Mitchell trimmed down his list of 30-plus scholarship offers when he released his top 12 schools via social media.
Clemson made the cut for Mitchell – the nation’s top-ranked corner in the 2023 class – along with Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Southern Cal and Texas.
A rising junior with two years of high school still ahead of him, Mitchell (6-2, 180) has plenty of time to make his college decision but wanted to go ahead and narrow down his recruitment to the group of schools he can see himself playing at in the future.
“I felt like it was just time for me to focus on these schools because these 12 are where I have a probability of going,” Mitchell told The Clemson Insider. “I feel like I should just focus on these 12 because they have my best interests and I have good relationships with the coaches at each school.”
Clemson typically doesn’t offer prospects until the summer before their junior year, per Dabo Swinney’s policy, but the fact Mitchell doesn’t yet have an offer from the Tigers didn’t keep them out of his top group.
Mitchell’s relationships with cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and area recruiter Todd Bates, along with Clemson’s status as a perennial national title contender, are reasons Mitchell considers the Tigers one of his favorites.
“Clemson’s been recruiting me ever since my freshman year,” he said. “I have a great relationship with Coach Reed and Coach Bates at Clemson, and they just show major love. And they’re a top school in college football every year. They’re definitely going to be one of the top schools I pick when it’s time for me to commit.”
Based on the substantial interest Swinney, defensive coordinator Brent Venables and the Clemson staff are showing in Mitchell, he is a strong candidate to receive an offer from the Tigers when they turn the page to offering 2023 recruits this summer.
“Coach Bates and Coach Reed, they both love my game,” he said. “Coach Venables, he loves how I play and I fit into their system, how he uses corners. And they just think I’m a really great player, good grades, and my personality, how I am off the field. And Coach Swinney loves Alabama guys, so I’m one of the top priorities for them.”
Right now, it’s too early in the recruiting process for Mitchell to know when he will make his commitment down the road.
“I have no idea,” he said. “Just going to wait it out until the time is right.”
However, Mitchell does know what will be important to him when the time comes for him to pick a school.
“I want to have a great relationship with the coaches,” he said. “Have to have that home feeling. Wherever school I’m at, just got to feel like home, and I want to play right away. So, me and my family have to like it, and I want my family to be able to come see me play.”
Mitchell is ranked as the No. 1 cornerback in the 2023 class by 247Sports, which tabs him as the No. 19 overall prospect in the class regardless of position.
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