To stay home. It’s an option most of the state’s top talent has an opportunity to do; build a legacy in front of friends and family. For Ridgefield’s Jackson Mitchell, that was an opportunity he just couldn’t pass up.
“I know my family will be able to make it out to every home game and that’s really important to me,” Mitchell said on Saturday. “Being able to play at this level in general is really exciting, but for it to be in Connecticut? It’s even more special.”
The offer came almost a week ago, but Mitchell, ranked the 13th best player in Connecticut, has had his eye on UConn for awhile.
“I went on multiple visits and the coaches always made it feel like home,” he said. “I love where the program is headed and I was really excited thinking about getting a chance to play in front of my home state.”
Head coach Randy Edsall being at the helm certainly didn’t hurt either.
“I really like Coach Edsall and after seeing what he did the first time he was at UConn, it makes me excited to play for a coach like that,” Mitchell said. “All the other coaches were always so nice to me and my family every time I was on campus and they make it feel like a great place to be. The facilities are some of the best in the country and the football facility has so many great tools to make the program successful.”
Mitchell plays on both sides of the ball at Ridgefield and his ultimate position with the Huskies has yet to be determined.
“As of now, I don’t know [what position I’ll be playing],” he confirmed. “It depends on who graduates and how the recruiting class shapes out, but I’m ready and capable of playing on either side of the ball.”
On offense, Mitchell shined, earning all-state receiver honors while making 80 grabs for 1,124 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior. Defensively, he plays defensive back, but is projected as a linebacker at the next level given his size; 6’2″ 210-lbs, an ideal candidate for the Husky. Wherever he ends up, Mitchell is sure to turn some heads based on how he plays.
“I like to play aggressive on both sides of the ball,” he said. “I’m a quiet kid, so I like to let my game speak for itself.”
It’s also clear just how important the game is to him, something the program has been looking for in current and future players.
“Other than my friends and family, football is the most important thing in my life,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been playing since 3rd grade and its all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
On this Father’s Day, Mitchell pointed to not just his dad, but both of his parents for getting him to where he is today.
“My parents have definitely been the biggest part in getting me to this point in my life,” he said. “They helped raise me to be a great young man and taught me how to be successful. My dad coached all the way until 8th grade and he’s pushed me every step of the way. My mom has been the biggest supporter I could ask for and I wouldn’t be here without either of them.”
Both will get a chance to watch their son at The Rent on future Saturday’s, making Mitchell’s commitment even more special for him and his family. His decision could ultimately lead to more players that will want to follow in his footsteps.
MATT SCHONVISKY / SITE CREATOR