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Big man on campus: Mount Si lineman Josh Mitchell answers questions on final ‘Cats season, Oregon future
The hard decision is made. Now Josh Mitchell can focus on the fun stuff: Seeing how far he can help push the Mount Si High School varsity football team toward greatness in his capstone season.
The 17-year-old North Bend teen, who will help lead the offensive charge as a lineman, signed last weekend with Oregon State.
His commitment to the Beavers—over Washington State, Montana, Eastern Washington and Wyoming—was made after Mitchell weighed the personal touches that Oregon State staff made for him. Handwritten letters, a family feel and the legacy of coach Mike Riley all played into the move to Corvalis.
“I was thinking about my future—not just thinking football,” Mitchell said. “The coaches care about me, not just as a player, but as a person.”
At Corvalis, he’s being eyeballed for an offensive guard or center spots, depending on where his skills mesh with the team’s needs.
In his senior year, Mitchell is ready to see Mount Si advance to the playoffs.
“I believe we’ll do that if we come together as one,” he said. The lineman may have been tapped for a top Northwest tier of play, but he’s humble when it comes to the Wildcats.
“No one should be the hero or be in the spotlight,” he said. “It should be the whole team.”
This fall is a little different. Mitchell is wearing a pair of knee braces to protect his legs and his collegiate future; Dad Jeff said the $1,400 braces are easily outweighed by a $200,000 education. But Mitchell still plans to play as hard as ever, and not lose any fire.
Jeff, Mount Si’s booster club president, ascribes Mount Si’s collegiate success—17 former Wildcats now play at the college level—to the team’s professional demeanor.
“It’s a part of Coach (Charlie) Kinnune’s core covenants,” he said.
“You may not be the biggest, or the fastest, but your work ethic will take you a long way. All of the coaches in the program strive to instill that in their kids. It’s something that (college) coaches are taking notice of. Once you get out of high school, it takes work ethic to continue on.”
Josh Mitchell answered questions in an interview last week at Mount Si High School, during a break from senior photo shooting by local photographer Mary Miller.
What’s your training regimen?
Lift five times a week in the weight room. Speed camp on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Wednesdays, hill climbs on the Ridge. Hikes sometimes on Friday mornings.
Who will have your back this season?
Kolton Auxier, left guard, I play next to him. This is our third year playing together. We’ve worked next to each other all the time... The entire team is like a brotherhood. We’ve got each others’ backs.
What do you think about moving to Oregon?
I’m excited. It’s a neat town, a small town. My family and friends can still go out and see me.
Did you ever think this kind of future would happen?
No, not at a Pac-12 school. My dream was always to play college football. It really didn’t hit me until after wrestling season that I had the potential. All my work is paying off. I’m humbled by it. There’s lots of people out there who want to play college football.
What about your wrestling career?
I’ll still finish up the wrestling season. I’m hoping to go and be able to defend, be a two-time state champion. No one’s done that at Mount Si. I’ll be giving up the singlet after that. Football at the college level is enough. It’s a constant job.”
What are your senior goals?
“Just to come together as a team. We’re replacing tons of starters. My ultimate goal is to make it to the playoffs, and strive to get better.”