LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach Lane Kiffin leads the USC Trojans out of the tunnel for the start of the game against the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Scouting Report of USC receiver commit Steven Mitchell. A versatile playmaker and lifelong Trojan fan.
Wide receiver Steven Mitchell of Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany High School was the ninth commitment of USC's 2013 recruiting class. The 5'11, 175-pound prospect was offered by Trojan head coach Lane Kiffin at the conclusion of USC's June 10 skills position camp in which Mitchell stood out amongst a talented group of receivers. Mitchell promptly pledged his services to the Trojans upon receiving the offer. An invitee to Nike's televised elite camp event "The Opening", Mitchell gave his childhood favorite the nod over such programs as Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
Listed as an athlete by most recruiting services, Mitchell is projected to receive the bulk of his snaps at wide receiver for USC. While appearing somewhat smaller in stature than listed, Mitchell seems to have added a few pounds of good weight to his upper half since the conclusion of his junior season. That assessment is based on video from Mitchell's camp appearances and seven-on-seven performances over the spring and early summer. This should help to ease any durability concerns that may exist as he possesses the skill-set to receive touches as both a receiver and punt returner.
Mitchell most likely profiles as a slot or "motion" receiver at to the collegiate level. The prevailing question might be whether Mitchell can indeed hold up on an island isolated against press coverage. Operating from the slot position for his high school team, Mitchell is generally afforded free releases and will oftentimes run his patterns against the deep safety.
As an outside receiver, Mitchell carries the long speed to threaten a defense vertically and force coverage to tilt to his side of the field. If he can translate this ability as a perimeter player in college it will increase his value significantly. As it stands, Mitchell is one of the more agile players you will come across this cycle, as he is an extremely creative runner after the catch, using excellent vision and quick vertical cuts to accelerate up field as opposed to dancing laterally.
As with most prep receivers, Mitchell will need to expand his route tree at the next level. At this stage in his development he is more of a speed cut guy who will stick his foot in the ground and rely on sudden changes of direction to separate from cornerbacks as opposed precise route running. That being said he is very quick in and out of his cuts and possesses the footwork, balance, and explosiveness to develop into a very good route runner.