Arkansas didn’t pull off another double-dip, but it did land Miguel Mitchell out of the transfer portal Friday.
After missing out on former Florida offensive lineman Micah Mazzccua, who committed to Nebraska earlier in the week, the Razorbacks managed to secure a signature from a member of the Gators’ secondary.
Mitchell was a starting safety at Florida this past season and will have two years of eligibility, plus a redshirt, available to use at Arkansas. He’s the 13th scholarship transfer the Razorbacks have brought in this cycle.
The full list of transfer portal additions can be found below, but that total includes two players from Tennessee in defensive back Doneiko Slaughter and offensive lineman Addison Nichols.
Florida has now yielded an Arkansas transfer in back-to-back years. Last offseason, the Razorbacks landed offensive lineman Josh Braun, which proved to be a big pickup because he earned All-SEC honors as their starting right guard.
Braun and Mitchell were teammates for the Gators in 2022 and will be reunited at Arkansas in 2024. He’ll also be reunited with secondary coach Deron Wilson, who was a quality control analyst for the Gators in 2022.
The Razorbacks’ 13-man transfer class currently ranks 16th nationally and fifth in the SEC, according to 247Sports. On3, which factors in what Arkansas lost in the portal, also has the class fifth in the SEC, but it’s No. 23 overall.
Miguel Mitchell at Florida
It was a savvy move that landed Miguel Mitchell in the Swamp in the first place.
Originally committed to Vanderbilt for about four months during his senior season, the high three-star recruit backed off his pledge late in the process and almost signed with Northwestern during the early signing period.
Instead, Mitchell bet on himself and decided to wait until the traditional National Signing Day in February. It paid off, as multiple big-time offers poured in. He ultimately picked Florida over the likes of Tennessee, LSU, USC and Oregon.
His recruitment likely benefited from him finishing his high school career in style. After a standout career at Oxford High in Alabama, Mitchell was selected to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.
Not only did he have a 52-yard pick six that was the game’s first touchdown, but he also made five tackles and forced a fumble on his way to earning MVP honors.
Once with the Gators, Mitchell immediately carved out a role for himself – on both defense and special teams. He played 107 defensive snaps across eight games, including a start against South Carolina, and earned a 55.8 grade from Pro Football Focus.
Including his time on special teams, Mitchell appeared in all 13 games as a freshman. Getting reps on five different units, he played 148 special teams snaps, primarily on the kickoff coverage unit (64).
That set the stage for this past season, when he started eight games. Mitchell earned nearly an identical 55.7 PFF grade while playing 385 offensive snaps, plus added another 43 special teams snaps.
It’s worth noting that Mitchell lost his starting job down the stretch. After starting seven of the Gators’ first eight games, missing only the Vanderbilt game because of an injury, he started only one of the final four games
The Razorbacks got a taste of Mitchell’s potential when they visited Gainesville in November. He notched a career-high six tackles and one of his two pass breakups against Arkansas, earning a 68.0 PFF grade – his highest mark in SEC play.
Over the last two years, Mitchell made 52 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, plus forced one fumble and broke up two passes at Florida.
What it Means for Arkansas Football
The Razorbacks have now added three defensive backs from the transfer portal, as Miguel Mitchell joins Doneiko Slaughter from Tennessee and Marquise Robinson from South Alabama.
However, he is the lone safety of the group. Slaughter played cornerback the last two years after being a nickel early on, while Robinson was a corner in 2023 and nickel in 2022.
Adding another safety in the secondary was critical for Arkansas because it lost two players from its two-deep; Alfahiym Walcott exhausted his eligibility and Malik Chavis entered the transfer portal.
There’s a chance the Razorbacks could also be without Hudson Clark, who has yet to announce whether or not he’s returning for his super senior season. Even if Clark does return, he’s a versatile defensive back who could also play nickel or, in a pinch, cornerback.
Jayden Johnson is back after starting every game last season, but the second safety spot could be wide open. In addition to potentially battling Clark, Mitchell’s biggest competition may be T.J. Metcalf, who played 153 snaps as a true freshman last season. Like Clark, he could also play nickel.
From a more big-picture perspective, Mitchell continues the Alabama-to-Arkansas pipeline, despite him not coming straight from the high school ranks.
He played at Oxford High, which regularly produces Division I talent, with past alumni including Kwon Alexander and K.J. Britt, both of whom eventually earned All-SEC accolades. It’s also a school with which Sam Pittman is familiar, having signed five-star offensive lineman Clay Webb from there during his time at Georgia.
Mitchell will be joining seven other players from Alabama who signed with the Razorbacks over the past two cycles. That’s tied with Georgia Tech for the most by an out-of-state Power Five program during that span.
It’s a good pipeline for the Razorbacks to develop because the state is rich in talent. In the 2023 and 2024 classes combined, Alabama produced nearly 200 FBS signees, according to the Rivals database. For comparison, Arkansas produced only 37 over that same timeframe.
Bordering states like Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee have frequently been used as recruiting territories by the Razorbacks, but not so much for Alabama. Prior to the 2023 class, which included three signees from Alabama, Arkansas football had inked just three total players from the state over the previous decade.
The last time the Razorbacks signed at least three players from Alabama in the same class, which they’ve now done in back-to-back years, was 1996.
Transfer Portal Additions This Cycle
Here’s a list of all the players Arkansas football has added out of the transfer portal during this cycle…
- OL Keyshawn Blackstock – Michigan State
- TE Andreas Paaske – Eastern Michigan
- QB Taylen Green – Boise State
- DB Doneiko Slaughter – Tennessee
- OL Fernando Carmona – San Jose State
- K Matthew Shipley – Hawaii
- OL Addison Nichols – Tennessee
- LB Xavian Sorey Jr. – Georgia
- WR Jordan Anthony – Texas A&M
- DB Marquise Robinson – South Alabama
- RB Ja’Quinden Jackson – Utah
- DE Anton Juncaj – Albany
- DB Miguel Mitchell – Florida
More coverage of Arkansas football and the transfer portal from BoAS…