When linebacker Teradja Mitchell transferred from Ohio State to Florida back in January of this year, he knew he needed to hit the ground running.
“I always work with purpose, intention, and a sense of urgency. So, when I first came in, I focused on getting into the playbook, meeting with Coach Bateman and the guys, the other linebackers here. And just making sure I understand the system and can operate from day one. I felt that was important.”
Replacing Miller and Burney
After the departures of Ventrell Miller and Amari Burney, head coach Billy Napier thought the Gators needed more experience and depth at the linebacker spot, as well as a leader in the room.
“I’ve been very pleased with Teradja,” Napier said. “He has the physical ability, but I think the most important pieces are his maturity, leadership, and perspective on things. It’s almost a coach’s perspective. He’s a guy who’s played a lot of football.”
“He’s made our team better.”
Mitchell spent five season in Columbus and in 2021, Mitchell was selected as a team co-captain at Ohio State and made appearances in 12 games with eight starts. He finished the ‘21 season with 45 total tackles (21 solo) for seventh on the team and had 4.5 tackles for loss.
“This guy was voted team captain at Ohio State. When we made the decision to recruit him and add him to the team, it was a home run. He’s in the middle of some really intense competition relative to his role, but he’s made our team better.”
Teammates identified Mitchell as leader
It didn’t take long for teammates to gravitate towards Mitchell as a leader. Along with fellow transfer quarterback Graham Mertz, Mitchell was named a captain by his teammates in the squad’s “Regimen Phase” of the off-season. A phase that is best described as the summer strength and conditioning period. Eight weeks of intense workouts that mix weight lifting and speed and conditioning training.Billy Napier says
“It means the world to be honored by your teammates, especially being new to a program. It means the guys trust you. They trust in your ability to go out there and perform on the field. So, it means everything.”
When asked what kind of leader he sees himself as, vocal or by example, Mitchell states, “Definitely a combination of both. But I would say my strength is leading by example. The way I work and approach this game, I do it with my all every day. I try to put my best foot forward every day in my preparation of work.”