Photo by Makayla Puckett
After a 31-16 Southern Miss win over Kansas in 2010, young Jordan Mitchell found himself on the field of M.M. Roberts Stadium.
“I remember getting on the field not exactly for the players but the Kansas cheerleaders. I’ve got a picture with them somewhere,” Mitchell said.
As a child, the Hattiesburg native would beg his mother to take him to Southern Miss football games with dreams of one day wearing the black and gold like his heroes Damion Fletcher and Austin Davis. In high school, Mitchell was a dual-sport athlete at Oak Grove High School playing baseball and football.
“He only played those two years [of football.] He was quite baseball player, just unbelievable,” former Oak Grove football coach Nevil Barr said. “We could see what kind of athlete he was, so we talked and got him out.”
In the two seasons Mitchell played for Barr, he had 1,347 yards receiving, 76 receptions and 10 touchdowns. He was named Oak Grove’s 2014 offensive player of the year and helped lead the Warriors to two consecutive state championship games. In 2013, Oak Grove claimed the 6A state championship title with a 14-7 win over Tupelo.
“I remember just from the day we started summer practice, we knew that we had the team,” Mitchell said. “We were the leaders on that team for sure, no doubt me and Picasso [Nelson] and a few other guys. That was one of the most fun times just playing football just because we were all bought in. I see a lot of similarities in that team as I do on this team this year.”
During his senior year, offers from junior colleges began to pour in. After several college visits, Mitchell and his family decided Jones County Junior College was the best fit.
“I had visited a few junior colleges, and I felt like Jones was the best one for me and my family to be able to come support and everything like that, but I had always wanted to come to Southern Miss,” Mitchell said.
The day before he inked with Jones, Southern Miss assistant head coach Steve Buckley called Mitchell to offer him a scholarship.
“My mom had a cake for Jones just to celebrate me signing with Jones,” Mitchell said. “[Southern Miss] was my only D1 offer and I had always wanted to play here, so I figured ‘Why wait?’ That’s why I chose just to focus on football once I got here and see how good I could be.”
Barr assured Coach Todd Monken that taking a chance on Mitchell had little risk despite his short career.
“[Monken] was definitely willing to take a chance on my own somebody with that much talent,” Barr said. “He knew; I knew; our coaches knew. It really wasn’t taking a chance because this guy can play.”
Throughout his time at Southern Miss, Mitchell has felt the support of his community.
“I think Hattiesburg is definitely a supportive community, especially coming out of Oak Grove. We have a lot of guys who have come this route,” Mitchell said. “That support system from Oak Grove and just the community is definitely there. It’s really strong, and I appreciate all of them for all the support they give me.”
So far as a Golden Eagle, Mitchell has 683 receiving yards, 57 receptions and five touchdowns. An injury in 2016 forced Mitchell to take a redshirt.
“He finally got healthy last year, and he really kind of blossomed at the end of last year,” Head Coach Jay Hopson said. “We knew he was a football player, and he’s just worked hard in spring, worked hard in summer, and he’s just gotten better and better. He’s made a ton of plays for us this year, and we need that to continue.”
In game two of the 2019 season, Mitchell had a 65-yard reception at Mississippi State for his first touchdown of the season.
“He’s made big plays for us. He’s a guy you can count on catching and blocking, and he’s just a total football player,” Hopson said.
Mitchell and the Golden Eagles will be back in action on Sept. 21 in Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide.