As of ~2 PM today, the decision has been made. Head Coach Jimmye Laycock, in his last season at the helm for William & Mary, has chosen sophomore Shon Mitchell to lead the Tribe at quarterback. According to Shon’s bio on tribeathletics.com, last season, he became W&M’s first true freshman to start at quarterback since 1975; he was also the program’s first true freshman to play at quarterback since 1981. Despite the accolades, last season was mostly one to forget for Shon. Playing here and there, he completed just 22 of 58 passes for 140 yards with three interceptions (and 0 interceptions).
BUT, we’ll not soon forget how highly touted Shon was coming out of high school. He was perhaps the biggest recruit Jimmye ever landed, especially in recent years. Shon still has much to offer. So to remind everyone just how highly touted Shon was coming out of high school, we’ve briefly updated an article we published back in 2015, when we all caught the Mitchell bug. We’re excited to see what this kid can do in Jimmye’s last year, and beyond. LET’S GO TRIBE.
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 190
- Class: True Sophomore
- High School: Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, VA)
- Number: #4
- Twitter Account: @smitchell17_
Shon Mitchell: The Basics
Mitchell was listed as the 19th best dual-threat QB in the 2017 recruiting class according to one source (and higher in others), and was a part of a high school program that is known for winning; he was a starter at Oscar Smith since his freshman year. Perhaps most impressively, he is a true student-athlete, boasting a 4.3 high school GPA. We think he fits right in at William & Mary. Don’t you?
Shon has a rich family history of athletes– always a plus. His father played football at the University of Nebraska, and his uncle played basketball at Cincinnati before transferring to Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition, his cousins were also highly regarded basketball players in the state of Nebraska. Impressive, to say the least.
High School Career
Shon’s high school football accomplishments are so numerous, that it’s quite literally hard to count all of them. To take a page directly out of his William & Mary player page (we’ve bolded some of his more… “insane” accomplishments, if you will):
“One of the most prolific quarterbacks in Virginia High School League (VHSL) history as a record-setting standout for head coaches Richard Morgan and Bill Dee at Oscar Smith High School … Four-year starter who posted a 52-6 record … Finished his career as the Virginia High School League all-time leader for career passing yards (11,380), touchdown passes (123) and completions (747) …
Two-time first-team all-state selection … Honored as the 2016 All-State Offensive Player of the Year after passing for 3,338 yards … His 232 completions as a senior ranks tied for the ninth-best single-season total in VHSL history … Garnered second-team All-USA Virginia Football Team distinction … Selected as the 2016 All-Region and All-Conference Offensive Player of the Year … Three-time All-Region selection (2014-16) … Earned All-Tidewater and All-Conference honors all four years … Selected as a MaxPreps First-Team All-American in 2014 …”
But why William & Mary?
Shon, as a junior, held offers from William and Mary, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Navy, Charlotte, and received strong interest from Nebraska. He ultimately chose William and Mary, and told Hero Sports that the opportunity to play in big games, the incredible coaching staff, overall fit with the W&M offense, and the talent that the program has produced in recent years (citing recent 6th round draft pick DeAndre Houston-Carson) were the main reasons that he chose the Tribe. In that same article, Mitchell said:
“Everything they have to offer fits me perfectly, I take pride in my education and William & Mary has one of the best education systems around. I have a great relationship with Coach (Kevin) Rogers. The staff keeps everything honest and open with me. I know that I am one of their top priorities. I love their style of offense; I believe that it fits me perfectly and it would give me a good opportunity to make it at the next level.”
“I definitely love the football atmosphere and educational opportunity of going to William & Mary,” Mitchell told HERO Sports. “I have no doubt that the competition in the CAA is top tier as the CAA is one of the best conferences in the nation at the FCS level. I think Coach Laycock is one of the best at what he does, and I have nothing but the highest respect for him.”
He went on to tell the Virginian-Pilot that,
“William & Mary is the perfect fit for me, I went there twice this summer and completely fell in love with the school…Coaches stressed to me that there’s a standard you have to fit – personality and character,” Mitchell added. “They told me I fit that standard, that I’m that caliber of person.”
Shon’s fit with the Tribe: 2018
Shon really does appear to be a perfect fit for the Green and Gold, despite last season’s numbers. Truth be told, he was thrown into the fire as a true freshman. One can’t blame him for his production last season, but it does show that he has his work cut out for him. We’re hoping that another offseason of practices, more time in the playbook, and better rapport with coaches and wide receivers will be a recipe for success this season.
The last time W&M finished the season with two wins, it came back and won 7 the next year. While that might be tough to accomplish in this year’s CAA, which is widely regarded as the #1 conference in the FCS this season, anointing Shon should prove to be a step in the right direction in 2018. We’re excited to see what he can do.
LET’S GO TRIBE!!!