ATHENS - Malcolm Mitchell showed up at interviews last week wearing the same sunglasses he wore in the "Harlem Shake" video Georgia produced last month. Of course more noticeable in that video, which is now up to nearly 1.5 million views, was Mitchell dancing shirtless and parading an umbrella.
"They just thought it was a good idea, so I just went ahead and did it," Mitchell says, with a laugh.
Mitchell is known around the team as one of its more fun-loving characters. He's known around the SEC as one of the toughest receivers to face, although it's yet to be reflected in any awards, thanks to the circumstances: He missed three games his freshman year with a hamstring injury, and last year he spent the first four games at cornerback, a move of necessity that was abandoned as soon as the defense got its suspended starters back.
So now Mitchell enters his junior year with a chance to put up some pretty big numbers.
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"If you look at it how I've been doing since I got here, I've really only had freshman year to be at receiver," he said. "So this is a chance for me to make a big jump."
Quarterback Aaron Murray put it this way:
"I'm excited to see what he can do next year - in a full season," Murray said.
Mitchell is also unquestionably the top option at receiver, now that Tavarres King has graduated. Murray and Mitchell each said the coaches are moving Mitchell around a lot, trying to maximize his abilities and create some mismatches. In the past he's tended to start on the short side of the field, but Mitchell said he's now working the slot and the wide side.
"I think I can become a lot better, just off of some of the things that happened to me last year, that didn't go my way, now I'm learning how to make sure things do go my way."
By that, Mitchell said he was just talking about catches that could've been made, and responding to jams from defenders. The kind of little stuff that can be honed in and worked on in spring and preseason practice, especially when you're not spending the time working exclusively at cornerback.
Mitchell isn't announcing any statistical goals or issuing any brash declarations about what he can do this year, assuming he stays healthy.
"We'll see. We'll see," he said. "Those games I did come back and play (last year) I did well. So we'll see how it goes."