You heard that right, ladies and gentleman. The Tribe just landed the TOP FCS recruit in the country. His name is Shon Mitchell. Remember that name well, because come 2017, #17 will begin doing big things in Williamsburg. Add this to the news that Tribe football recently received a transfer in former 4 star recruit Jalen Christian from the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the future of William and Mary’s offense and football program in general looks incredibly bright bright. Jimmye Laycock, we salute you.
So let’s get right to it: what do we need to know about W&M’s newest gem from the 2017 recruiting class?
Shon Mitchell: The Basics
According to the always-right internet (read: sarcasm), Shon checks in at 5’11” 170 pounds, indicating plenty of room to get bigger. More importantly, he hails from Hampton Roads, VA–a highly regarded hotbed of Virginia athletics. Mitchell currently attends “757” football powerhouse Oscar Smith High School, where he has one more year left before he graduates–which means that he is currently labeled as a “hard commit” rather than “signed.”
Mitchell, listed as the 19th best dual-threat QB in the 2017 recruiting class, is a part of a program that is known for winning; he has been 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’ll fit 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
In his first three years at Oscar Smith, Shon has racked up 8,109 passing yards and 100 touchdowns (for those of you wondering, that averages to 2,703 yards and an eye-popping 33 passing touchdowns a year). He also holds an insane 39-4 record as a starter, including two State Championship games. His 8,109 yards ranks eighth all-time in Virginia High School League history.
And he still has his senior season to break even more records. If Shon passes for 2,617 yards and 26 touchdowns in his senior season, he will set the record for the most passing yards and touchdowns in Virginia High School League (VHSL) history. Wow.
Adding to the accolades, Mitchell is a three-time All-Tidewater selection, and as a junior last season, lifted Oscar Smith to a 13-1 record and a berth in the Group 6A state championship game. He completed 207 of 347 passes for 2,957 yards and 22 touchdowns last season alone en route to earning First Team All-State honors.
“Shon is going to go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in VHSL history,” said Richard Morgan in this Virginian-Pilot article. Morgan coached Mitchell at Oscar Smith before departing for a job in Georgia after last season. Morgan continued, “his combination of athleticism and intelligence is a can’t-miss with William & Mary. He’s always been a kid who had good mechanics. His knowledge and development continued to proceed, and he just kept getting better and better.”
But why William & Mary?
Shon, only 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
Shon really does appear to be a perfect fit for the Green and Gold. Not only does he possess prowess at the most important position in football, but he is also academically gifted, carrying that hefty 4.3 GPA .
He cited multiple times that he has built a great relationship with QB Coach and Offensive Coordinator Kevin Rogers, who is best known for grooming QBs like Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, and most recently Tribe senior QB Steve Cluley.
We can’t wait to see what Shon will do for the Tribe when he suits up on Saturdays. Our biggest question will be whether Coach Laycock will redshirt him, or give him a shot at the starting position right away. While we think the former is the more likely outcome, we are excited by the prospect of seeing a 3-star QB recruit and potential 3-4 year starter in Williamsburg. His former coach agrees.
When asked about Shon, former coach Rich Morgan told Virginia Preps, “I’m real happy for Shon. He’s a great quarterback and a great academic kid, so I think it’s an excellent fit. He’ll have a great time playing football there and get a great education.”
“Their style is real similar to what we did at Smith as far as concepts and the various things they do on offense. I think it’s a seamless transition for him. He’s very well-schooled on the game, and understands the concepts and defenses, which is why I anticipate him playing early and being able to make an impact.”
Boy is it a great time to be a Tribe football fan! Even in the offseason, the team and coaching staff has given Tribe faithful reasons to cheer. The squad added a former four star WR and South Carolina Transfer Jalen Christian, and now adds the top-ranked FCS recruit in the nation in QB Shon Mitchell.
Summer camp is just around the corner, starting in just three weeks. We can’t wait until the Tribe kicks off the regular season on Thursday against NC State. Are you excited yet?! As always, thanks for reading, and LET’S GO TRIBE!!!