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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Earl Mitchell reflects on his time at Arizona

Former Arizona defensive end Earl Mitchell pursues a Nebraska player during the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, Calif., on Dec. 30, 2009. Mitchell recently competed in the NFL Combine and has his sights set on the NFL Draft.
Former Arizona defensive end Earl Mitchell pursues a Nebraska player during the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, Calif., on Dec. 30, 2009. Mitchell recently competed in the NFL Combine and has his sights set on the NFL Draft.

After a solid combine performance that improved his stock in the eyes of several scouts and talent evaluators, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell headed back to Tucson to train with his teammates for Arizona’s Pro Day on March 12. He took a few minutes out of his training schedule to talk with the Arizona Daily Wildcat about the NFL, the combine and what he’ll miss about Arizona.

Daily Wildcat: So how have workouts been going?

Earl Mitchell: Workouts have been good. Right now I’m just working out with all the guys here getting ready for Pro Day.

Where did you work out before this?

I was training down in Florida with Pete Bommarito. Me and (draft eligible cornerback) Devin Ross have the same agent, and he’s the same agent for (former Wildcats) Antoine Cason and Mike Thomas and he has all the guys train down there.

What are you looking to do at Arizona’s Pro Day?

I’m going to do the position drills.

No more measurable workouts?

No, I feel like I did what I expected to do at the combine. I feel pretty good about (my workout there).

So what exactly was the combine like?

It was a great experience, but it was probably one of the toughest job interviews I’ve ever had in my life. There’s no way you can mentally prepare for the combine.

What kind of questions did they ask you in the meetings?

Mostly general questions. They want to know about your family, your background and pretty much your history. Mostly they want to know if you’ve had and trouble or run-ins with the law.

Well you’re a standup guy I’m sure you did fine with that.

(Laughs) Yeah I’m good. They were surprised and asked me about three or four times if I really don’t drink and I was like ‘nope, not one sip.’

With guys like Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, defensive tackle has become a pretty popular spot this year. What was it like being in that group?

This year is pretty deep, but those two guys alone brought a lot to our group and defensive tackle has become a hot commodity. Working out with those guys and just kind of measuring up to those guys gave us an opportunity to perform for the coaches.

What’s the interaction like between the players during drills at the combine? Are you rivals or do you encourage each other?

We were always rooting for each other no matter what. We all got along pretty well from the beginning because we had a lot in common. We all came in ready to focus and cheered each other on. Overall the guys were pretty nice.

Scouts were really impressed with your work ethic, was that your plan of attack to try and set yourself apart from the pack during the week?

Well I was the first person in my group and I wanted to show that I was ready for every drill. I just wanted to get my hand down and show what I could do.

So after the combine, what have you been hearing about where you might get picked?

Right now it’s hard to say. Suh and McCoy will go first, so unless you’re one of them it’s kind of up in the air.

If you were the Rams would you take Suh, McCoy or a quarterback?

I would go with a quarterback because I know how crucial they are as leaders of a team. I mean they’re great players and nothing against them, but I know quarterbacks are important to teams.

So you came into Arizona as a running back, and while I’m sure you had NFL dreams, did you ever think it would be as a defensive tackle?

Never. It never crossed my mind, but at the same time Arizona was the only school recruiting me to play offense so I knew there was a possible change, but I still felt like I had some good years of offense left in me.

Where do you see yourself fitting into an NFL system?

I feel like I’m pretty versatile. That’s how I came into Arizona and I see myself doing the same at the next level.

Some scouts said they could see you playing some offense as a blocking back, too. Would you be willing to do that?

(NFL scouts) were asking me at the combine if I’d play on both sides and I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all.

Before you take off for some NFL city, what will you miss most about UA?

The friends that I made and the camaraderie of the team. Also being a part of that atmosphere (at Arizona stadium) and running out on that field. I personally feel like we had one of the best entrances (in college football).

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