Malcolm Mitchell may not have received the accolades of Manti Te'o for his work on the defensive side of the ball in 2012, but there's no doubt that his contribution to the Georgia football team was incredibly valuable, as the Bulldogs repeated as SEC East champs and came within five yards of playing for all the marbles.
With suspensions and attrition crippling the Bulldogs secondary for the first four games of the season, Mitchell—an SEC All-Freshman selection at wide receiver in 2011—moved to cornerback in the spring to lend a hand.
As the season progressed, he made the move back to wide receiver on a full-time basis. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that's a spot where he wants to stay.
If I had to pick between offense and defense, one or the other, I’m going to pick offense just because I love doing it. Now if you say, can you do a little bit of offense and a little bit of defense? I want that. I don’t want to play full-time defense. I can make that statement.
With four seniors departing from the secondary, Georgia's defense will look drastically different in 2013. There's a chance that Mitchell may be the best option at cornerback based on his athletic ability and his experience at the position in 2012.
Even if he is, he should focus on wide receiver. That's where his impact will be felt most for the 2013 team.
Mitchell caught 40 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns in 2012, leading the team in receptions and finishing second in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Not bad for essentially two-thirds of a season on offense.
Whether it's senior Aaron Murray taking the snaps or redshirt junior Hutson Mason in control after Murray jumps to the NFL, there needs to be a veteran in the wide receiving corps to stabilize the position and give the quarterback a reliable downfield target.
Mitchell is it.
This is an age of specialization, and that works for both players and teams. Most players need to focus on individual skill to excel at the next level, while teams need players to specialize on one specific position in order to get the most out of them.
Sure, there are exceptions, and Mitchell's ability to play both ways certainly could be one.
But he's already proven that he can be a top-tier wide receiver. Barring an injury, suspension or something that forces a move back to defense, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and head coach Mark Richt should keep Mitchell on the offensive side of the football.
It would help him grow as a player and help the Georgia offense in 2013, even if it's someone other than Aaron Murray taking the snaps.