Mitchell Yoder’s dream of playing college football has become reality thanks to starring at a position he never expected to play.
The Polk County senior is bound for Brevard College, celebrating his decision to join the Tornadoes program Thursday morning during a ceremony in the school auditorium.
The chance to continue his football career comes after a season in which Yoder did a bit of everything well for the Wolverines, rushing for 1,071 yards and 11 touchdowns, catching 16 passes for 170 yards and a score, racking up 450 yards in returns, intercepting three passes and recording 66 tackles.
That versatility, along with speed that helped him finish sixth in the state last season in the 100-meter dash, grabbed the attention of Brevard recruiters, who began talking with Yoder during the Wolverines’ playoff run.
“It’s something I always wanted to do as a kid, and now that it’s finally come true, it feels good,” Yoder said of playing college football. “The first time they called me was before the North Rowan game and they wanted me to visit that weekend. I couldn’t go then, but when I finally did get to visit, it just felt right.
“They have more of a spread offense, which is something I like to do. I liked the coaches and I liked the campus. I liked it all there.”
Polk County head coach Bruce Ollis – whose son, Jordan, played at Brevard – thinks Yoder can make an immediate impact with the Tornadoes.
“What interested college coaches about Mitchell is that he can do everything. He catches the ball well, he defends well in the secondary, he can return kicks, he’s an aggresive tackler and he can tote the mail,” Ollis said. “He’s a five-tool player.
“He has probably improved as much as anybody in our football program. He’s a quiet guy who lets his play do the talking, and that’s well and good. He’ll do well there.”
Yoder, who hopes to major in a computer-related field, said Brevard coaches are still deciding exactly where he’ll play, but have indicated they may first give him a shot at running back.
Yoder’s more than happy with that news.
“Thinking back, I didn’t really expect to be playing running back,” Yoder said. “I never thought of myself as a running back. In high school I thought I would be playing defense.
“But with everything that happened this season it seems like it was meant to be.”