In what appears to be a movement among local Memphis talent, Wooddale defensive end Carl Mitchell and wide receiver Daniel Hurd both verbally committed to the University of Memphis in front of City Hall Friday night.
Ridgeway running back Sheldon Dawson, who committed to the Tigers on Monday, attended the announcement.
Hurd and Mitchell become U of M coach Larry Porter’s sixth and seventh commitments of the 2012 class. Of the seven commitments Porter has secured thus far, five hail from the Memphis metropolitan area.
“It’s home,” Hurd said. “It’s our city, and it’s a great city. It would be good for us to come (to the U of M) and help rebuild.”
Hurd chose the Tigers over Southern Miss, North Carolina, and Cincinnati.
Just two weeks ago, Mitchell told TigerAuthority.com that his top three at the time consisted of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Arkansas and that he wanted to play in the SEC.
By Wednesday night, as TigerAuthority.com first reported, Mitchell’s final three included Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Memphis.
“I talked to my family, really, and they were like they want to come see me play,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t just want to go too far, so I was thinking I would stay home. That’s the closest you can get. We’re going to bring something to Memphis.”
Hurd and Mitchell said they both expect to come in from day one and contribute so long as they “work hard and earn their spots,” Hurd said.
Mitchell acknowledged that he needs to add on 15 pounds to get to a good playing weight — he said he’s currently 235 pounds — but sees no problem doing so.
Mitchell’s father, Carl Mitchell Sr., said he’s glad U of M coach Larry Porter is tapping into the talent in the Memphis metro area.
“It’s a good thing he’s doing,” Mitchell Sr. said. “There’s a lot of talent here in Memphis. He just needs to stick to it, they need to stick together and they’ll have a winning team.”
In the last two weeks, the Tigers have gotten commitments from Melrose quarterback Will Gross and Dawson. Both Wooddale prospects said their commitments played a role in their decisions.
New Wooddale coach Keith Spann, a U of M alum, said it makes him proud to see local kids committing to play for the Tigers.
“It seems to me that there’s a group of guys trying to put their hometown university on their backs and make a commitment,” Spann said. “It shows how serious (U of M coaches) are about recruiting. There’s hometown talent here. They’re holding their own against surrounding colleges.”