Mitchell making name on track

Jonesboro sophomore has had a surprise season in the sprints

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro sophomore Artmus Mitchell has been a big surprise this season after qualifying for the Class AAAA Sectional meet in Statesboro this weekend.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Jonesboro sophomore Artmus Mitchell has been a big surprise this season after qualifying for the Class AAAA Sectional meet in Statesboro this weekend.

JONESBORO — Jonesboro football coach Tim Floyd saw something special in sophomore Artmus Mitchell during the last two games of the 2012 football season.

Knowing that he would have to replace his standout running back for the upcoming season, Floyd decided to give Mitchell some playing time during the Cardinals Region 4-AAAA play-in game and state playoff contest.

Mitchell showed enough to convince Floyd that the Cardinals offensive ground attack will be in good hands this upcoming season.

Against Dutchtown in the region play-in game, Mitchell took a reverse about 45 yards for a touchdown in the win. He had a 20-yard scoring run in the Cardinals loss against Westover in the first round of the playoffs at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.

“He showed flashes that he can be a real exciting player,” Floyd said. “You could see his speed and big-play potential.”

And Mitchell is demonstrating that speed this season as a member of the Cardinals track and field team.

He was runner-up in the 100-meter at the Region 4-AAAA Championships last weekend at Twelve Oaks Stadium. Mitchell had a personal-best time of 10.81 to qualify for the Sectionals.

He placed sixth in the 200 event at 23.26 to miss the Sectional by two spots.

“I decided to come out for track this season to enhance my speed and build a good relationship with my football coach,” Mitchell said. “I know this week will help me in the Fall for football.”

Mitchell has a good shot of advancing to the Class AAAA meet in Jefferson on May 2-4. Each event at Sectionals, which will take place on Saturday in Statesboro, has two heats with the top two in each heat and the next four best qualifying for the state meet.

Floyd said that Mitchell has been equally as impressive in track this season. They have spent much of the spring working on the 5-10, 180-pounders techniques.

“He has come a long way, but still has lot of work to do on the track,” Floyd said. “He has a lot of natural ability. I don’t think he has realize how go he can be in track. Once he picks up all the techniques, he will continue to grow.”

This fall, Mitchell will be asked to fill the void left by senior running back Patrick Petty.

Although Mitchell has missed some of the offseason training for football while competing in track, Floyd is confident he will be in good shape.

“Track has really helped him,” Floyd said. “Artmus will provide us with some good explosive play-making skills. He could be a difference maker with his speed. He misses some football meetings, but the shot at competing is good for him.”

Floyd says that Mitchell’s competitive natural is his biggest asset.

“That is something you can’t teach,” Floyd said.

Mitchell has already made some big impressions. Senior hurdler Taurean Ferguson, who will attend Vanderbilt on a football scholarship, said Mitchell has a big future in both sports. Ferguson has been mentoring him this spring.

“He just has some good natural ability,” Ferguson said. “I mainly talk to him about the mental part of the sport.”

Mitchell said he is ready for this weekend, and the start of football season.

“My goal is not to fill anyone’s shoes, but make some new ones,” Mitchell said. “I want to achieve more. There is no pressure at all. I think I could help this team out a lot next season.”