Iowa State got its quarterback of the future, and a good one at that, in Re-al Mitchell, out of heralded high school football factory St. John Bosco (California). The Cyclones offered Mitchell early over a year ago, and he verbally committed in May.
Albeit his smaller stature (5-10), if the dual-threat quarterback were a few inches taller he would have garnered dozens of more Power-5 offers. With that being said, the 3-star prospect chose the Cyclones over Arizona, Illinois, Kansas State, Northwestern, Rutgers, South Carolina, and Utah.
The number 25 dual-threat quarterback is the 8th highest ranked recruit in the class, and threw for over 2900 yards in 2016, along with 1000 rushing yards.
Mitchell is quite fleet-footed, but also has a rocket for an arm, and was a finalist in the Elite 11 quarterback camp. His strongest attribute might be his high IQ for the game of football, as he also received a 4.0 GPA this past semester. He will enroll early for classes in Ames in the spring.
**DISCLAIMER** THIS IS JUST A COMPARISON OF PLAY STYLE AND PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES AND DOES NOT IN ANY WAY SPEAK TO ANY SORT OF PROJECTION FOR THE ATHLETE.
First, let’s play a comparison game.
Weight: 190 lbs
40 yard dash: 4.47
100m dash: 10.67 (!!!)
Rivals Composite: 0.8548
Weight: 180 lbs.
40 yard dash: 4.55
Rivals Composite: 0.8163
Scouting Report (per ESPN):
“If this kid was 6-2 or 6-3, he would be a top-flight quarterback prospect nationally. With that being said, Player B is a winner. He has one of the quickest releases we have seen over the last two years. The ball comes out in a hurry. He is a great little athlete -- a true dual-threat -- but clearly a passer first. He has very good mechanics overall. He gets back and sets up quickly and carries the ball high in the pocket. He is calm and balanced and sees the field well considering his lack of height. He has very good quickness and he can buy time in the pocket with his movement and shows the ability to avoid the rush. He is a threat when he pulls the ball down as he has the elusiveness to make people miss. He has very good accuracy in the short-to-intermediate passing game. Flick of the wrist release is awesome. He shows good toughness and the ability to stand in and take a hit. The problem is that he is short and lacks a great arm. Arm strength is adequate, but not powerful. Lacks zip downfield. He is at his best when the pocket moves so he can find throwing lanes. Overall, if in the right offense, Player B could have a bright future. He is fun to watch and you respect his competitiveness.”
Before I tell you the identity of Player B, lets go over some similarities and differences between the two.
- Both are under 6’0” and likely would have been top flight quarterback prospects if they were a few inches taller.
- True dual threat quarterbacks. Not just the ability to buy time, but a legitimate weapon beyond the line of scrimmage. None of that “Alex Smith is a good running quarterback” BS here. Re-al’s speed can push him past even most defensive backs if he gets loose in the open field.
- High level throwing mechanics. Player B’s praises are shown above, and a closer examination of Re-al’s mechanics show a quick, consistent release.
- Good pocket presence. Due to his mobility, Re-al is more than capable of picking up yardage on scrambles, but when required, he’s more than willing to stand in the pocket and deliver an on-time, on-target downfield throw.
- Intelligence. Player B is known for bringing a very intelligent, cerebral approach to the game, and Re-al Mitchell is no different. You can see him making downfield reads and making solid decisions.
- Arm strength vs. touch. The biggest difference between these two is arm strength and the ability to apply touch where need. Undoubtedly, Re-al has a better arm than Player B coming out high school, and can really zip the ball into tight windows on mid-level throws. Probably partially due to high school’s passing scheme, most of the throws you see on tape have good velocity on them and didn’t require much touch. It’s not that Re-al isn’t capable of putting touch on his passes, but the ability to throw balls like the one below from Kyle Kempt will probably come along more so after he has had the opportunity to take reps at Iowa State.
In contrast, Player B is well known to be very accurate and have good touch on his passes, but has relatively average or slightly below average arm strength. That said, his intelligence and accuracy more than makeup for whatever he lacks in arm strength. Re-al’s arm strength is one of those attributes “you can’t coach,” while accuracy and touch absolutely can be coached, giving Mitchell an advantage in that department.
Have you figured out who Player B is yet?
No, it isn’t Seneca Wallace.
It’s not Bret Meyer either.
It’s Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.
Throughout his college career, draft process, and even the beginning of his NFL career, Russell Wilson was continually labelled as “too short,” or criticized for his lack of arm strength. You know what he did? Wilson used his accuracy and intelligence to guide him and the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory in his second season.
As I said before, I’m not saying he is or will become Russell Wilson. That’s too much pressure to place on a high school kid, and it’s far too early to tell.
However, I AM saying that he has better physical tools than, and equal intelligence (for his age) to, Russell Wilson, and with solid development in his touch throws, accuracy, play action, and decision-making, he has a chance to be really, really special.
All aboard the hype train.