2014 SEC Top 100 Countdown: No. 45 Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia
SDS talent evaluators Jon Cooper and Brad Crawford spent several months breaking down last year’s highlights, incoming talent and projected 2014 impact following spring practice to compile a list of the SEC’s Top 100 players heading into fall. Athletes were selected by position then ranked overall counting down to No. 1.
Stick with SDS throughout summer and get in on the action using the hashtag #SDSTop100 as we unveil a new player daily leading up to opening night on Aug. 28.
45. Malcolm Mitchell, Jr., WR, Georgia
Some players never reach their full potential due to reasons out of their control and Georgia’s hoping that’s not the case with its injury-plagued wideout who routinely makes plays when he’s not hampered by leg problems.
Mitchell, a former defensive back and return specialist in high school, tore his right ACL in last year’s opener celebrating Todd Gurley’s 75-yard first-quarter score at Clemson and upon his return this spring, suffered a left leg injury that sidelined him for the remainder of preseason practice. At full strength, Mitchell’s one of the Eastern Division’s top receivers with 1,237 yards and eight touchdowns over his first two seasons, but the caveat of whether or not he’ll be available each week tends to linger.
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First-year starting quarterback Hutson Mason needs a playmaker on the outside, someone he can rely on down the field and Mitchell fills that necessity when healthy. Speed’s his best asset, but durability’s an issue and the Bulldogs hope he’s not a step slower upon his return.
2013 statistics: 40 catches, 572 yards, 4 TD (2012; redshirted last season after knee injury)
2014 projection: 38 catches, 519 yards, 4 TD