Former Iowa State quarterback Re-Al Mitchell has verbally committed to transfer to the Temple Owls for the 2020 season and beyond. Mitchell is coming off his redshirt freshman campaign with the Cyclones in which he backed up star QB Brock Purdy. Though Purdy will presumably enter the 2021 NFL Draft upon the conclusion of next season, Mitchell’s tenure with Iowa State has come to a close.
Before examining the situation in which Mitchell finds himself next, we have to understand where he came from. Hailing from St. John Bosco in Southern California, Mitchell had plenty of eyes on him during his high school career. After developing his game behind starter Quentin Davis for his first two seasons, it was his turn to take the reins during the 2016 season.
As a junior, the former Braves signal-caller splashed onto the scene, torching opponents all season long. According to MaxPreps, in 15 games played Mitchell completed 198 of his 294 attempts for 2,932 yards and 30 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions. He was just as deadly using his legs as his arm, carrying the rock 152 times for 1,058 yards and another 15 touchdowns. His unbelievable play on the field garnered him 17 scholarship offers from D1 football programs. A few notable schools that offered him were Utah, Penn State, South Carolina and of course, Iowa State.
There was a lot of hype for Mitchell as his senior season drew near, with the documentary TV series QB1: Beyond the Lights featuring him on their show. The year went far from what Mitchell and the Braves expected as he appeared in just six of the team’s games before being sidelined due to a nagging shoulder injury. Unfortunately, the show highlighted the turmoil Mitchell had to endure with both the injury and the loss of his starting position to the 2018 No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the nation, DJ Uiagalelei.
If Mitchell was able to maintain his production and remain healthy for the duration of his final year, there is no doubt he would have finished as a four or even five-star recruit, but alas, he finished his high school career as a three-star QB on 247Sports’ Composite. Despite the struggles at the end of his run with St. John Bosco, Iowa State did not pull their offer and Mitchell would go on to enroll in early January of 2018.
He appeared in just one game as a true freshman before ultimately redshirting. He took the time to build on his frame, grow accustomed to the life of a college athlete and become fully healthy. Coming out of high school, Mitchell was listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, which certainly is slight for a dual-threat QB. In the following year, he was able to add an inch to his height as well as 10 pounds.
While he was redshirted, another true freshman was tearing up defenses for the Cyclones. Purdy took over the starting spot midway through the season and never looked back. He tossed 16 touchdowns to 7 interceptions and passed for 2,245 yards at a clip of 10.2 yards per attempt. Purdy’s position was set in stone from then on, meaning Mitchell would be battling for the second-string role, a role he did go on to win before the beginning of the year. He was able to see the field as a redshirt freshman, albeit not much. He had 11 rushing attempts, picking up 100 yards and a touchdown. He also threw four passes, completing two of those for 14 yards and another score.
Instead of spending another season behind Purdy on the depth chart, Mitchell elected to take his talents to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Temple already has Anthony Russo, who will be undertaking his third year as a starter for the Owls. However, there is no proven depth behind him, leaving a void Mitchell can come in and fill.
While backing up Russo, he will study the offense and get a hold of the expectations that his new coaching staff has. This only bodes well for his future starting odds and the new scenery presents him with a second chance at football stardom which he flashed in his junior year of high school. Once Russo moves on to pursue his NFL dream, Temple’s QB job should be Mitchell’s to lose. He has all the natural athleticism and ability to torture AAC defenses, all he needs is a true opportunity.