Spring Football Games: Scores, Schedule, Thursday, May 22, 2015, Leesburg High School, 1401 Yellow Jacket Way, Leesburg, Florida 34748, Gerald Lacey, Staff Writer, Carver Heights Quarterback Club
Spring Football Games: Scores, Schedule, Thursday, May 22, 2015, Leesburg High School, 1401 Yellow Jacket Way, Leesburg, Florida 34748, Gerald Lacey, Staff Writer, Carver Heights Quarterback Club
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Spring Football Games: Scores, Schedule, Thursday, May 22, 2015, Leesburg High School, 1401 Yellow Jacket Way, Leesburg, Florida 34748, Gerald Lacey, Staff Writer, Carver Heights Quarterback Club
Spring Football Games: Scores, Schedule, Thursday, May 22, 2015, Leesburg High School, 1401 Yellow Jacket Way, Leesburg, Florida 34748, Gerald Lacey, Staff Writer, Carver Heights Quarterback Club
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Excitement Mitchem's Ticket To The Citadel

January 31, 1990|By Joe Williams Of The Sentinel Staff
Orlando Sentinel
Updated: Thursday, July 2, 2015, 2:59 p.m.

Leesburg halfback Undra Mitchem figured there was no need to look any further when Coach Charlie
Taaffe from The Citadel called him Monday night to offer him a football grant.

''I just ran out of the house and started running around and screaming,'' Mitchem said. ''My
grandmother had to call me back in. They had no idea what was going on. I was so excited.'

Mitchem, 18, a Leesburg senior, who was third in Lake County in rushing (1,105 yards) and in scoring
(11 touchdowns for 66 points) quickly accepted the Cadets' offer. Mitchem, who has been involved in
the Leesburg Junior Air Force ROTC program for the past four years and carries the rank of Cadet
Captain, was hoping to get into The Citadel, a military-style college.

Mitchem, who visited The Citadel's campus in Charleston, S.C., last weekend, is cancelling his four
other planned recruiting trips. He also was scheduled to visit Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona
Beach this weekend, as well as, Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, Austin Peay State University
in Clarksville, Tenn., and to the University of Central Florida.

No date has been set for Mitchem's signing. The Citadel, an NCAA Division I-AA football program,
cannot sign players, along with any other NCAA school, until National Signing Day, Feb. 14.

Mitchem, who was a first-team selection on The Lake Sentinel's All-County team this fall, is the first
Lake County player to orally commit to a college this year.

''It was just a case of a young man knowing what he wanted to do,'' Leesburg Coach Ken Weir said.
''We talked with him about what he wanted to do after college, after football, and he said he wanted to
go into the military service. So we started looking around for an academy or a military school for him.''

Mitchem, who easily meets the NCAA's academic requirements for freshmen athletes with a
2.7-grade-point-average and a 19 ACT score, is the first of Leesburg's talented offensive backfield to
commit to a college. Fullback Lee Hanks and halfback/wide receiver Willie Dickens, also seniors,
make up the other two-thirds of the Yellow Jackets Wishbone attack, which averaged 232 yards a
game.

Leesburg offense, and Mitchem, got off to a slower than expected start this season, running out of an
I-formation. But, during an open week, the Yellow Jackets shifted from the 'I' to the Wishbone, a
formation Mitchem ran out of as a freshman on Leesburg's junior varsity team.

Then, Mitchem was a fullback and was used mostly as a decoy, and he didn't enjoy the offense.

But this year, as the Yellow Jackets' primary rusher, Mitchem began to like the Wishbone more and
more. In Leesburg's first game with the Wishbone, the Yellow Jackets upset sixth-ranked Vanguard,
30-10, and Mitchem rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.

Now, Mitchem enjoys the Wishbone so much that he is excited about going to The Citadel and fitting
into the Cadets' Wishbone offense.

''They (the Cadets) said he was one of the top two running backs that they've seen and they were very
interested in him,'' Weir said. ''They really liked the kind of kid he is.''

The Citadel coaches are restricted by NCAA rules from saying anything publicly about their recruits.

''One of the main reasons I wanted to go ahead and commit is because they had all the military
structure and everything I wanted,'' Mitchem said. ''There was no need for me to keep looking.

''I really like the military structure and the discipline all around. I'm just the kind of person who likes to
be around that kind of atmosphere. I feel the people who are around a real disciplined lifestyle are the
ones who are the most successful in life, not the ones who go through life at their own pace.''

Mitchem said he enjoyed meeting the coaches and the players on The Citadel team during his visit.
He also got a tour of Johnson Hagood Stadium, which has been renovated since Hurricane Hugo
swept through Charleston last fall. Because of damage the hurricane did to the stadium, The Citadel
had to play its final seven games on the road after winning its first four games.