Sometimes you find a diamond in the rough, sometimes you stumble upon great talent, and sometimes great talent just lands in your lap. That is what happened to Eastern Washington University when their senior quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell transferred to EWU from Southern Methodist University as a junior in 2010.
Who is Bo Levi Mitchell? Well, if you don't live on the west coast, more specifically Eastern Washington, or come from Katy, Texas, you probably haven't heard of Bo Levi.
Mitchell is from Katy High School, in Katy, Texas. Katy is town of just under 12,000 and in his senior season as quarterback for the Katy High Tigers, Bo Levi led his team to an undefeated season culminating in a state championship, throwing for 2,451 yards, 37 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Mitchell turned down an offer from the University of Hawaii to play at SMU.
Mitchell was a starter as a true freshman at SMU in 2008, and he threw three touchdowns in his collegiate debut against Rice. Going through that season, he finished with 24 touchdowns (which is good for third-most in SMU history), threw for 300 yards four times and had five games with three or more touchdown passes.
In his sophomore season at SMU, Mitchell was running the option when he was chased down and hit from behind, the ball popped out and as he was reaching out to recover the fumble two other players jumped on the loose ball. As the players landed on his outreached left shoulder, it was swiftly dislocated. Bo Levi popped his own shoulder back into place but the medical staff advised him to not return to the game.
After that season had ended, and his spot was seemingly gone, he remembered a visit to Eastern Washington University his senior year in high school. The big thing that he remembered about that visit was how honest and tight-knit the team and coaching staff presented themselves. "They had one goal in mind, win football games!" Mitchell added, " And that's what I wanted to do. So when deciding If I should stay and get a prestigous degree from SMU and live comfortably, or go play some ball, my heart instantly knew what I wanted to do and that was play football!"
In 2010, Bo Levi Mitchell, returning to his home state of Texas, led the Eastern Washington University Eagles to the FCS national championship. After being held to just 98 yards of total offense in first two-and-a-half quarters the EWU offense came alive and scored three times in final 16:48 to beat Delaware 20-19 in the title game.
Mitchell was 29-of-43 for 302 yards and had three touchdowns and one interception. With 2:47 to play, Mitchell threw the game-winning touchdown, one that followed two touchdowns late in the third quarter to bring them within striking distance of the remarkable comeback in a game which Delaware led 19-0 with 7:12 left in the third quarter.
In 2011 the Eagles as a team took a step back, but Bo Levi Mitchell continued to move forward. Mitchell led the FCS in four major categories including passing yards (4,009) and touchdown passes (33). Bo Levi is also one of three finalists for the Walter Payton award given to the top player in the FCS which is announced January 6.
Mitchell broke four school records in his two-year career with EWU, one of which ranks 17th in FCS history with 4,009 passing yards in a single season. All of these accomplishments are coupled with being named to the All-American First Team in 2011. Mitchell finished his senior season completing 318 of 503 passes (63.2 percent) 4,009 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Bo Levi Mitchell knows the importance of this upcoming NFLPA All-Star Game (January 21) in terms of his future.
Being asked about his status, Mitchell replied, "I know I'm going to have a chance to showcase my skills, but my window will be small, which is something I will have to take advantage of because I wont get many opportunities. But that's all you can ask for as a player, get a chance, seize the moment, and shine when the lights are on." When asked if he thought his football career would be over if he wasn't drafted, Mitchell stated, "I will not be done until I get to where I want to be!"
His leadership skills are unquestioned, his accomplishments great and plenty, he has been a winner at every level he's ever played at and now he's hoping a team will see his talent and take a shot at an underdog.
He's not a guy like Andrew Luck or Matt Barkley who play in the national spotlight every Saturday, but when given the chance to shine in the bright light Mitchell has shown up. On regional television in week one Eastern traveled to in-state Pac-12 foe University of Washington, Mitchell was 39-for-69 with 473 yards and three touchdowns as the Eagles fell just short 30-27.
Any team that does decide to take a chance on Bo Levi Mitchell with get one thing for sure, a hard-working leader who will push himself and the people around him to success and do it with class.