The article discussed in the most detail the logistics and realities of athletic competition between the dozen or so American DoDDS high schools in the Far East, and in particular focused on Jarrett Mitchell, then a senior at Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan. Here follows a short recap on him. Mitchell has lived essentially his entire life on Okinawa (a Japanese island) after originally moving there as a baby when his father was stationed at Kadena Air Base. He remained there long after his father's Air Force deployment had ended because his mother worked as a teacher at some of the American schools in the island. He showed himself to be a very talented athlete early on in his high school years, and after a breakout season in football his sophomore year (in which he starred as a running back, kick returner, and occasionally at safety) he spent the summer of 2012 attending stateside football camps in an attempt to gain exposure to college football programs.
He received good reviews for some of his camp performances, earning running back MVP honors at a few, but he remained off the radar to all but a few schools, and college coaches can't recruit what they can't see. The few Division I programs that were aware of Mitchell were unable to really evaluate - and therefore very reluctant to offer a scholarship to - a kid from a school 14 or more time zones away, and whose competition level was perceived to be suspect at best. So despite his having very strong junior and senior seasons (between them he rushed for over 3,200 yards and 36 touchdowns while playing in only 19 games), working out at several combines and college camps in the summer of 2013, and putting on an MVP performance against several eventual Division I and Division II signees in the Offense-Defense Diamonds in the Rough game in Florida this past January, Mitchell did not have a single athletic scholarship offer at the time of the original article's publication, which was two weeks after Signing Day. (For the full background story, see: The Recruiting Saga of an American Football Star in Japan.)
The article was very well-received, especially in the military community it seems, and as of this writing it has been shared on Facebook 2,956 times. Mitchell says it got a big reaction within the American community on Okinawa; there was an instance a few days after its publication in which a group of people Mitchell had never met before noticed him at a store wearing a Kubasaki shirt with his name on the back. They happened to have read the BON article and upon seeing his shirt they asked him if he was the athlete they'd just read about. With the overwhelming reaction and interest that readers took in Jarrett Mitchell and his story, I thought it appropriate to give an update on how things have gone for him in the past four months, and which school he plans to attend this fall.
He plans to spend the rest of the summer visiting family and friends, relaxing a bit, traveling, and attempting to stay in good football shape. As is the case with most football athletes who also compete in basketball and track, the increased amount of running the latter sports require led to him losing some of his football weight. Mitchell, who is 5'9", says he weighed around 192-193 pounds at the end of football season, but he had dropped into the low 180s by the early weeks of track season. His track coach agreed to let him shorten his running workouts so he could get in some strength training, and he says he is now back up to 187 pounds and hopes to be at 190 when football practices begin in August.
Mitchell knows he has a tough road ahead of him in order to make the Arizona football team, but if he has shown anything in recent years, it's that he's not one to back down from a challenge. And he knows that in the end, it's what he does in the classroom that will affect his future at least as much as - and probably more than - what he does on the field. As he told Stars and Stripes in April, "It's not about the four-year route but the 30-year route."
He'll be in Arizona to get a college education, and if he gets to fulfill his dream of playing college football at the same time, even better. But his focus is admirably on the long-term. "I'm looking forward to it [starting college]. I know what I need to do and want to do, and I know that as long as I keep my priorities straight it'll be a piece of cake."