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Big moments, bigger heart: Texas WR Adonai Mitchell’s path from Athens to Austin

The journey of family and football that has brought Mitchell back home.

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman Sara Diggins/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

For Texas Longhorns junior wide receiver Adonai Mitchell, his social media handle “mocitymitch” is an homage to his hometown of Missouri City, Texas, perfectly encapsulating the loyalty Mitchell has for his roots. However, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that changing it to “bigplaymitch” is equally as accurate.

For Mitchell, no moment on or off the field has ever been too big or changed his priorities. When he’s needed the most, he shines. For most fans, this may bring up memories of old highlights or national championship rings. Yet, Mitchell is not just an authentic big-moment performer on the field. He’s a loyal and valuable person off the field.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 11 Texas at TCU Photo by Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Mitchell’s love for his family and hometown are as strong as anyone else on the Texas roster. After reaching the pinnacle of college sports, Mitchell decided to leave it all. The reason? Getting closer to his daughter Icylinn, who is being taken care of by her grandparents in Missouri City. After spending most of his daughter’s life in Athens, Mitchell wanted to be closer to her.

Texas offered a unique ability to be just two short hours from her while still playing in an explosive offense and competing for a national championship — the decision just made sense. However, that’s not to say that it was an easy choice because Mitchell had already proved he was one of the best skill position players for the Bulldogs in every big moment.

As a true freshman, Mitchell played more total offensive snaps than any other Georgia wide receiver. He had a touchdown catch in the CFP semifinal and the go-ahead 40-yard touchdown in the final quarter of the 2021 National Championship. As a freshman, in the biggest moment in college football, Mitchell shined.

Coming back as a sophomore, Mitchell ran into injury trouble. He was sidelined for nine games and had to miss the majority of the regular season. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he came back for the three biggest games of the year — the SEC championship, CFP semifinal, and CFP National Championship — and made an impact in each of them.

He passed for a two-point conversion in the SEC championship game before recording a touchdown in each of the CFP games. Yet if that wasn’t enough, he made sure that his touchdown in the semifinals came with 54 seconds left to propel Georgia into the championship. Once again, when he was needed most, Mitchell showed up and showed out.

At the end of his sophomore year, Mitchell had reached the pinnacle of success. He had won two national championships in two years while recording a touchdown in each of those games. But he was missing something. Rather, he was missing someone. Icylinn. Mitchell knew how important being with his daughter was and made the decision to be closer to her. In an era where players leave for a whole host of reasons, it’s hard to find one demonstrating more loyalty, maturity, and attention to what is important beyond the game of football.

Texas v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With his daughter in mind, just nine days after winning his second national championship, Adonai Mitchell entered the transfer portal. Two days later, he was committed to Longhorns. The feature of his commitment post? A picture of him and his daughter donning the burnt orange.

Mitchell in Austin was a unique opportunity. According to GoogleMaps, the UT campus is less than 2 hours and 30 minutes from Missouri City by car. Meanwhile, the same journey from the Georgia campus by car takes over 13 hours. While it’s unlikely that Mitchell has much free time during the season, he says he has already noticed the difference in the amount of time he spent with family during the offseason.

“That’s honestly been the best part. When I was away, I didn’t get that. I didn’t get that time with my mom. I didn’t get that time with my family and, most of all, my daughter.”

BYU v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

While the transfer made the most sense off the gridiron, Mitchell’s impact on the 9-1 record of the Longhorns is also indisputable. Through his 10 games in burnt orange, Mitchell has 40 receptions for 637 yards (15.9 ypc) and nine (9!) touchdowns. He’s had multiple games with over 140 yards receiving and multiple multi-touchdown performances as well.

When the Longhorns need a score or first down, Mitchell is the go-to guy. His athleticism and route-running abilities allow Mitchell to get open no matter who is defending him. He has demonstrated the capability to get open time and time again.

Furthermore, Mitchell possesses elite ball tracking skills. He routinely adjusts when the ball is in the air to secure catches. His 32-yard catch against TCU, which required ridiculous body control, put the game away and secured the win. Once again, when the moment was biggest, Mitchell came through.

The blessing that Adonai Mitchell has been for Texas might be coming to a close. The 6’4 wideout is currently the fifth-rated wide receiver prospect in the 2024 class, according to PFF, and the 31st-overall draft prospect.

With a few games left, expect Mitchell to cement his legacy in Texas lore as a player whose loyalty to his roots matches his commitment to delivering game-changing moments, both on and off the field. As his chapter at Texas nears its end, anticipate his brilliance to persist in every pivotal play.