Kris Mitchell got stronger in hopes of taking on larger role with FIU football team
Kris Mitchell said he’s “found out what’s at stake.”
It looks like he’s found some steaks, too.
Here’s the reason for the word play: Mitchell, who is in his fifth year as an FIU wide receiver, has gained about 12 pounds since the end of last season.
Now at 6-0 and 180 pounds, Mitchell is finally looking strong enough to carry FIU’s receiver room.
FIU coach Mike MacIntyre, speaking on Tuesday morning after the Panthers’ first football practice of the spring, said Mitchell has more power and endurance now.
“At top end speed, Mitchell is flying,” MacIntyre said. “But when he would get fatigued (last year), he would drop a bit (in velocity). I’m pretty sure now he’ll be able to stay flying the whole game.
“I look for him to take a big leap this year as a stronger target.”
Mitchell, a Georgia native, caught 11 touchdown passes as a high school senior, leading Jacksonville Mandarin to a Class 8A state title.
He sat out 2019 as a redshirt, then caught four passes for 39 yards in 2020. He had nine receptions for 158 yards and one TD in 2021; and he had 23 receptions for 348 yards and four TDs in 2022.
This season, however, FIU will be without its top receiver, Tyrese Chambers, who transferred to Maryland, and its most productive tight end, Rivaldo Fairweather, who bolted for Auburn.
Those losses are what Mitchell meant when he said he knows what’s at stake this year. With Chambers and Fairweather gone, Mitchell is No. 1 among FIU’s returners in reception yards and receiving TDs from last season.
That’s why Mitchell has been eating four times a day, trying to gain weight – which is not easy for someone with his slim frame and active metabolism.
“I’ve been eating peanut-butter sandwiches, pizza, milkshakes – anything I can put down my mouth,” Mitchell said. “A couple years ago, I hated eating. But now I’m having fun with it.”
Mitchell dealt with an ankle injury and a concussion last year. He’s healthy now, and he’s also wiser, having taken tips from older receivers over the years.
“I’ve developed my game,” Mitchell said. “I’m looking forward to see how I play this year. I’m expecting big things out of myself.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Zac Roper, FIU’s new special-teams coordinator and tight ends coach, said his main recruiting areas will be Miami-Dade County and the Space Coast.
▪ Adrian Cole, a returning starter at cornerback, is out due to shoulder surgery. MacIntyre said Cole will be “full speed” when FIU starts fall camp.