Blount Press Row

Scrimmage Report: Alcoa

OL Mitchell delivers head-turning afternoon against Cleveland

080114-AHS-CHS-Scrim_BPR-2267-RTCJunior tight end Ryan Clark extends for a touchdown catch on Friday. Photos by Jenifer Clark

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

Senior Kyle Malik Mitchell has become a force to be reckoned with few can.

Senior Kyle Malik Mitchell has become a force to be reckoned with few can.

The man wears a size 18 shoe.

Kyle Malik Mitchell isn’t going to be 6-foot-2, 295 pounds for very much longer.

The Alcoa High School senior offensive lineman has several offers already, including each of the three service academies – Army, Navy, Air Force. Others, including Georgia Tech and Middle Tennessee State University, are watching closely.

Schools like hometown Tennessee, however, reportedly don’t have Mitchell high on their list right now. His size, Mitchell said he’s been told, is not quite there yet.

Any potential suitor holding to that belief should have watched Mitchell work out against Cleveland during the Tornadoes’ first scrimmage of the preseason on Friday.

Junior tight end Ryan Clark, all 6-7 of him, provided an early highlight with a one-handed touchdown catch as Alcoa got in its first live action against an opponent on its new artificial turf.

Jaquez Tyson, offensive most valuable player of last season’s BlueCross Bowl, impressed with a pair of long gains off tackle, one of them for a score. Rumors have been flying all summer the senior running back has raised his max squat in the weight room to a hard-to-believe 700 pounds.

Reality is more like 600, Tyson said.

“Jaquez is a load,” Alcoa coach Gary Rankin said. “We’re trying to find some other weapons around him.”

Junior Mitchell McClurg, 6-4, looks more than ready to take over at quarterback. An experienced receiving corps caught the ball well all afternoon, with the Blue Raiders having a tough time of it making any headway against a retooled Alcoa defense.

“We probably looked a little further along at this point in the year than we have in a while,” Rankin said. “I don’t know how much that means, but we looked ready to play.”

Mitchell (60) squeezes in front of an Alcoa ball carrier on Friday.

Mitchell (60) squeezes in front of an Alcoa ball carrier on Friday.

Those were some of the highlights. The biggest highlight of all, though, was Mitchell.

The most valuable player among offensive linemen at the Charlotte Nike Football Training Academy this summer, Mitchell tossed around the player opposite him Friday all scrimmage long. After a while, you couldn’t take your eyes off him.

“If Malik was 6-5, (Alabama coach) Nike Saban would be landing his helicopter over there at the school to come watch him,” came the comment from one spectator.

Stay tuned.

“He’s a tremendous, tremendous offensive lineman,” Rankin said. “He’s as good an offensive lineman as I’ve seen in a while. I don’t think we’ve had anybody that dominates like does.”

While shooting up to 6-5 or better would boost Mitchell’s stock as a tackle at the next level, there’s something else to consider, Rankin said.

“I don’t have a doubt in my mind he couldn’t play center anywhere,” he said. “He’s just a great football player.”

The Tornadoes have a workday with Jefferson County on Tuesday at 5. Farragut’s Admirals come to Goddard Field on Friday for a final tune up prior to the Aug. 15 jamboree at William Blount.

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