Ohio State Football: What Ex-4-Star LB Mike Mitchell's Transfer Means for D

David Regimbal@davidreg412Featured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2014

Credit: 247 Sports

Ohio State linebacker Mike Mitchell, a former 4-star recruit from the Buckeyes' 2013 recruiting class, is transferring from the program.

According to a report from Kyle Rowland of Eleven Warriors, Mitchell plans to attend a college near his home in Plano, Texas, to be closer to his father, who is suffering from an unspecified illness. His transfer school has yet to be announced, but during his recruitment, Mitchell had offers from Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

The 6'3", 222-pound standout became one of the top players in the 2013 recruiting cycle after recording 186 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and five forced fumbles during his senior season. Mitchell came to Ohio State looking to make an immediate impact on a defense desperate for quality linebacker play, but an injury in fall camp led to a redshirt in 2013.

Finally healthy, Mitchell was expected to be a factor in Ohio State's linebacker rotation this season. His departure is a big blow to one of the Buckeyes' weakest position groups.

Last November, Urban Meyer said Ohio State's lack of depth was a top concern.

The linebacker position is still my biggest concern on our team. The depth is a major concern. When you think of the great linebackers here; arguably the last decade as good a linebackers as anywhere in the country played at Ohio State.

That was when the Buckeyes had All-American Ryan Shazier on the roster. After Shazier declared for the NFL draft, Meyer needed his two second-year linebackers—Mitchell and sophomore Trey Johnson—to play a bigger role.

Now with Mitchell's departure, Meyer will need to lean more heavily on the four highly touted freshmen from Ohio State's 2014 class.

Mike Mitchell was one of the top prospects in the 2013 recruiting class.
Mike Mitchell was one of the top prospects in the 2013 recruiting class.Credit: 247 Sports

It will start with Raekwon McMillan, a 5-star inside linebacker from Hinesville, Ga. McMillan enrolled early to take part in spring practice, and with Mitchell's transfer, he'll get an even longer look from the coaching staff.

The Buckeyes also have a trio of 4-star prospectsDante BookerKyle Berger and Sam Hubbard—coming in this summer. According to Ari Wasserman of The Plain Dealer, Meyer doesn't plan to redshirt any of his new linebackers.

Mitchell's transfer puts pressure on those four to come in from day one and be ready to produce. If they're not, Ohio State's linebacker woes will only continue.


All recruit rankings, stats and information per 247Sports.

David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. 
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.