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Brant Mitchell’s Meaningful Monday

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Monday night will come with a different type of emotion for Brant Mitchell.

Georgia Tech linebacker Brant Mitchell will step onto the big stage when the Yellow Jackets open with Tennessee in game two of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at Atlanta's new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The leading returning tackler along the front seven, Mitchell, with 13 starts last season, is now an experienced veteran for Georgia Tech. Familiarity, in week one for Mitchell, comes with a spotlight that truly is full-circle; Monday will be a tale of two hometowns. 

Mitchell had a storied prep football career, winning  a remarkable three state championships and twice, in 2013 and 2014, being named Tennessee's Mr. Football in Division II-A at the Webb School in Knoxville. He, as a linebacker, running back and special-teamer for Spartans, quite literally did it all. A historic senior season for Mitchell featured 97 tackles, eight interceptions and a fumble recovery, 777 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns and, for good measure, 19 punts.

As a sophomore, he was the Defensive MVP of the state title game; two years later, he earned that distinction on both sides of the football with 145 rushing yards with three scores and two interceptions, a 55-yard pick-six included.

At Georgia Tech, Mitchell has really come into his own. Taking over in the middle of the field full-time this past season after spot starting the year prior, Mitchell, the upperclassman, is a proven commodity. He, over the final three games of this past regular season, recorded a total of 30 stops and a pair of interceptions in contests against Virginia Tech, Virginia and Georgia, all wins. When Mitchell recorded more than five tackles in a game in 2016, the Yellow Jackets were 5-0.     

On multiple occasions, there were big moments late last fall. Mitchell earned ACC Linebacker of the Week honors after his banner showing against the Cavaliers. In a dramatic one-point win in Athens, Mitchell ended the game with an interception of Georgia's Jacob Eason, the highlight of his career, to date. When the clock expired in Georgia Tech's biggest game of the year, it was Mitchell holding the football high in victory.   

Monday night will come with a different type of emotion. For much of his life, Mitchell grew up following the Tennessee program, ultimately turning down the nearby Volunteers for his current opportunity. Mitchell went to high school about 15 minutes from the University of Tennessee; he will soon play the Volunteers, in a neutral site venue, less than ten from the college he now represents.

There is a fine line between friend and foe, a boundary Mitchell will cross in his next game.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports