Temple University football redshirt-sophomore quarterback Re-al Mitchell’s decision to transfer to Temple was a “leap of faith” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
Mitchell announced he was transferring from Iowa State University to Temple on May 21, The Temple News reported.
“When I entered the transfer portal early last semester, Temple was the first school to contact me,” Mitchell said. “They really tried to establish that immediate connection that they were really interested in me as a player and as a person and what I can bring to the offense.”
Now, Mitchell is focused on competing with fellow quarterbacks graduate student Anthony Russo and redshirt-sophomore Trad Beatty for playing time this season. The Owls’ first game is on Oct. 10 in Annapolis, Maryland against Navy.
Russo has started the past two seasons, but Mitchell isn’t worried about his opportunity to get playing time, he said.
“I don’t shy away from competition ever,” Mitchell added. “I think competition brings out the best in all of us, and if I can find a place where there are a lot of good quarterbacks, that is just gonna make myself better.”
In 2019, the Owls used a two quarterback system where they would bring in former quarterback Todd Centeio for one or two drives per game because he provided more of a threat to run the football.
Centeio rushed the ball 47 times last season, which was the third-highest on the team, and recorded 155 yards.
Centeio transferred to Colorado State University in January, leaving his role in the offense open.
Last season with the Cyclones, Mitchell was the team’s backup quarterback and was frequently brought into the game as a threat in the running game, similar to how Temple used Centeio.
Mitchell appeared in five games last season in which he completed two-of-four pass attempts, including one touchdown. He also recorded 100 rushing yards on 11 carries and scored one rushing touchdown.
Although Iowa State used Mitchell similarly to how Temple used Centineo last season, head coach Rod Carey isn’t ready to use Mitchell in a similar offensive package. He wants to see how Mitchell performs in fall camp first, he said.
“Re-al just has such a unique skillset,” Carey added. “He’s such an electric athlete and throws the ball very well.”
During fall camp, Mitchell is learning Temple’s offense, which is different from the offense he knew at Iowa State because it requires more communication with the offensive line, he said.
The coaching staff is pleased with how fast Mitchell has learned the offensive system despite the team getting limited reps during the fall, said quarterbacks coach Craig Harmon.
“It is extremely impressive in the amount of time and the uniqueness of the preseason … how fast he’s learned everything and how quick he is picking it up to go execute on the field,” Harmon added.
Even if Mitchell doesn’t see much time on the field this season, he still feels like transferring to Temple was the correct choice, he said.
“I’m really confident, and I am really excited,” Mitchell added. “I think our team is really solid. I think our offense is really solid and that once all of us get a chance to show what we can really do, we will turn a lot of heads.”