Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

January 20, 2011

’Cats commit today

Jay Rome, Malcolm Mitchell making verbal commitments

VALDOSTA — Valdosta High football stars Jay Rome and Malcolm Mitchell will reveal their college destinations today.

Rome will announce his college commitment at 5:30 p.m. on ESPNU. Mitchell is announcing his decision at 7 p.m. at Hibachi Grill and Buffet on Baytree Road in Valdosta. Mitchell’s announcement will be broadcast on Talk 92.1 FM.

The Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide are eagerly awaiting today’s announcements. Georgia and Alabama are finalists for both Rome and Mitchell.

Rome is ready to let everyone know where he is going.

“I’m really excited,” Rome said on Wednesday. “For about a week now, I’ve known where I’ve wanted to go. When I got the call last week asking if I wanted to (announce my commitment) on ESPN, it seemed like the first opportunity.”

Both Rome and Mitchell have kept their plans a secret to almost everyone. Very few people know which school either player will pick. On Wednesday, Rome said the only other person he has told is his father.

Rome says his college team will either be Georgia or Alabama. Rome made his official visit to Alabama last weekend. His official visit to Georgia came in November. Mitchell also visited Alabama last weekend, and visited Georgia in December.

“Both schools are great schools. Great football teams, great academics,” Rome said. “Whichever one I choose, I’m not going to go wrong.”

Rome is ranked the No. 1 tight end in the nation by ESPN, and the No. 18 overall player. He is also the Sporting News’ highest-rated tight end, and its No. 28 overall player. Both and have rated him the No. 4 tight end.

Last season, Rome caught 45 passes for 555 yards and seven touchdowns for Valdosta. He was a first-team All-State selection for the second year in a row, and was a first-team All-Region selection for the third straight year.

Rome will be in Tallahassee, Fla. when he makes his announcement on ESPNU.

Mitchell also had the option of committing on ESPNU, but chose not to. Instead, he will announce his decision over the radio from a local restaurant.

Mitchell is being projected as a wide receiver or a cornerback. ranks Mitchell the No. 7 cornerback in the nation, rates him the No. 11 cornerback and ESPN ranks him the No. 7 wide receiver (and No. 45 overall prospect). Earlier this week, said, “Mitchell is one of the more intriguing prospects still on the board because he is stout on both sides of the ball.”

Mitchell had a big year for the Wildcats. He caught 77 passes (a school record) for 1,419 yards and 15 touchdowns. It was one of the most prolific seasons ever for a Georgia high school receiver. Mitchell was a first-team All-State selection by both The Associated Press and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was a first-team All-Region pick for the second year in a row.

Both Rome and Mitchell were selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game, a game that featured some of the best high school players in the country, on Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Both players caught passes for the White team. Mitchell had a 49-yard touchdown catch late in the game.

Rome and Mitchell led Valdosta to an 11-2 record and a trip to the state quarterfinals in 2010.

Rome and Mitchell will be making verbal, non-binding commitments today. High school seniors cannot sign their football letters of intent until Feb. 2.

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