Teradja Mitchell Expects to Put 2018 Experience to Good Use

Ohio State football linebacker Teradja Mitchell

Teradja Mitchell came to Ohio State with All-American accolades and blue chip expectations, but spent most of the 2018 season watching.

Mitchell saw some action as a true freshman in 2018, but it was almost entirely on special teams. Defensive snaps were few and far between for each of the Buckeyes’ three rookie ‘backers, but that is expected to change in 2019.

With two middle linebackers ahead of Mitchell in Tuf Borland and Baron Browning, reps on defense were nearly impossible to find.

The season wasn’t a waste, however, as Mitchell learned as much as he could through watching and mental repetitions. He also tried to make his mark (and leave a few along the way) on special teams. And through it all, he learned that patience is something that everyone must deal with.

“Those guys just taught me how to grind hard when I came in,” Mitchell said following OSU’s conference title win. “It’s going to be gritty and it’s going to be a tough process, but you’ve just got to push through it, and you’re going to be a man in the end. Especially Justin Hilliard, seeing him on special teams as a recruit, just seeing how he handled it, and I’ve definitely followed his example in that.”

Like any player, Mitchell wants to see the field more than he did this season, but he also viewed the role he was given this season with complete respect. Kickoff coverage isn’t all that glamorous, but Mitchell made an impact when he could. That generally involved running full speed into blockers in order to keep them from completing the task they had been given.

“I’m a team player,” Mitchell said. “Coach Meyer instilled that in us. Coming in, you’ve got to play special teams before you play defense. So every opportunity I get, I’m just gonna take advantage of it. That’s why I came here. I’m a team player. I’m going to give it my all for the team no matter what the role is. That’s just how I go after it.”

By showing that willingness to do whatever he is asked, Mitchell got his coaches’ attention. Now with a new linebackers coach and two new defensive coordinators, he’s got to get that attention all over again.

Of course, this is also a clean slate for everybody on the defense. All three Ohio State starting linebackers are returning, but new linebackers coach Al Washington comes to OSU without any preconceived notions about his players.

This is everyone’s second chance to make a first impression, so expect each of the players — including Teradja Mitchell — to take things very seriously.

Mitchell is already aware of what he needs to work on and is anticipating the process.

“Definitely master the defense and know it like the back of my hand,” he said of his 2019 plans. “That’s the goal coming up. Just get ready. I can’t wait. I can’t wait. As soon as we start, I’m ready to go.”

There are a number of unknowns heading into the offseason, but the linebackers have now met with their position coach and workouts have begun.

Spring football gets underway in around 51 days. Mitchell, who got his feet wet in 2018, will soon be able to show more of what he can do, and he doesn’t care where or what it is.

“Whatever he asks me to do I’m going to do it as hard as I can,” Mitchell said. “I’m just going to work hard. Only God can tell.”

5 Responses

  1. I would like Mitchell to start the year sharing the middle linebacker spot with Borland or whoever and then take over by the third game even he is not the clear cut best at the spot at that instant. We need someone with very high ceiling to own this position and bring back the LBs of old.

  2. Baron Browning has no business playing at the MIKE position. None. He’s a faster version of Josh Perry and he belongs on the outside. Baron and Malik belong book ending the second level.

    The fact that Davis couldn’t recognize the talent, put them in the best position to succeed based on their skill set was glaringly obvious.

    I think Tuf Borland is a fantastic football player, but, he should have taken a medical RS for the 2018 season. His ability to change directions or even match the speed of big TE’s was painful to watch. His “injury” compounded the disaster of a really awful scheme. Did playing him in 2018 hurt his ability to grow? Can he bounce back physically and mentally. Or will he use the 2018 disaster as a point to get deep down angry and play the way he did to close out 2017? He’s a MIKE………can he use his eyes and read alignment keys, and perhaps even more importantly, can he use those eyes for the purpose of an Ohio State MIKE……….see ball, get ball…..and check the lunacy of “exotic gimmickery” out with that dumbass Schiano? If not………..Give me some Teradja Mitchell, all day every day. The young man is an Indoraptor pacing a cage waiting his chance to be unleashed.

    WORD TO AL WASHINGTON…………..That genetic hybrid is lethal…………..turn him loose on CFB. He’s WAY more talented than Devin Bush.

    1. Tuf Borland already redshirted so there was no point in holding him out this year. Browning was outside until Borland went down, then they had to bring him over and they never moved him back out when Borland was back. They can’t keep Browning and Borland at the same position, and Browning’s athleticism makes him the more likely mover. Gonna be tons of competition this spring at lienbacker.

      1. I don’t recall Tuf RSing. That kinda/sorta would explain why they didn’t. They still could have held him out and applied for a 6th year. Nobody can convince me that he was ready to play this year. Scouts looking at Tuf in a couple of years will weigh his 2018 season, and it will hurt his stock.

        I’m sure there will be plenty of competition. If there’s a good tendency with Al Washington, it’s that he’s no nonsense and he’s tough. WHOEVER wins the starting spots is going to have to be the same and display it on the practice field.

        To show that I read what you guys write……………..You said that there were 2 MIKE linebackers ahead of Teradja.

        I’m also convinced that Justin Hilliard would have been the linebacker answer like Brendon White was at safety. I guess he just couldn’t grasp Schiano’s “exotic” scheme well enough to earn more playing time. Then again, neither could anyone else, and linebackers were crippled not having an actual position coach.

        2019 should be interesting. Sucks, but, heading through winter conditioning and into spring ball…………….the 2 glaring issues remain linebacker and offensive line!

        1. I could see Hilliard providing depth at Mike or Will next year with Browning outside. In terms of the sixth season for Borland, those are only available if two entire seasons were missed due to injury. So they would have had to show that he missed 2016 because he was injured and that he wasn’t able to play in 2018.

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