Coming into the 2015-16 season, wide receiver Steven Mitchell Jr. was expected to play a major role in the USC Trojans' passing attack. But, the redshirt sophomore is breaking out and has started his journey on the fast-track to stardom in such a short period of time.
The Pasadena native was mainly a backup in 2014, but he did make two starts. He finished the season with 7 receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Mitchell has already well exceeded those numbers in 2015. So far, through four games, he has recorded 13 receptions for 126 yards and four touchdowns.
Everyone knows Adoree' Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster to be huge playmakers, but Mitchell is screaming, "Look at me!" It surely is easy to get lost in the shuffle when you're playing alongside such great talents. However, Mitchell is making his mark and forcing people to take notice.
While Mitchell's numbers don't exactly fly off the charts, he has shown some serious flashes of greatness. He was one of the standouts from the spring and summer and that momentum has carried over to the season.
Mitchell has certainly benefited from the attention that the other, more well-known receivers warrant from defensive backs, making the most out of his opportunities. He has proven that he is capable of making plays that turn into points.
Although Smith-Schuster is the go-to-guy for quarterback Cody Kessler, opposing defenses cannot afford to make the mistake of sleeping on Mitchell. He runs crisp routes, has blazing 4.3 speed and quickness, and can turn short passes into long gains. Most importantly, he has a knack for finding the end zone.
Given Mitchell's skill set, his ceiling is pretty high and he has the potential to be the next great slot receiver for the Trojans. That is, if he can avoid the injury bug, which plagued him in the first two seasons of his college career.