CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Point Pleasant High School football player Cody Mitchell stepped onto the field as a freshman on the Big Blacks' varsity squad last season, he did so with both excitement and apprehension.
Mitchell was obviously happy to avoid junior varsity play, but the promising youngster was a little leery of the gridiron expectations that seem to follow his family name in the Mason County community.1
As the son of former West Virginia University tight end Darrell Mitchell, and little brother of current Marshall linebacker Derek Mitchell, the pressure to perform, whether real or imagined, was understandable.
"I felt a little bit of pressure because they were both pretty good players," Cody said of his football playing family. "Dad always tells us that he was better than us, but then he'll come back and say there are times when we could get him on a few things.
"When I was a little kid I used to watch Derek play and I knew how well he played. I was nervous coming in here just because I knew I would have to fill his shoes in every game."
Through a year of a half of varsity play, the youngest Mitchell has had no problem filling those shoes. In fact, his football ceiling may be the highest of the three.
After contributing to the Big Blacks' 8-3, Class AAA playoff season a year ago, Cody Mitchell has helped lead Point Pleasant to a solid start this season.
Mitchell, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound running back/safety, leads the Big Blacks' offense with 804 rushing yards and 10 rushing TDs.
Point Pleasant is 6-0 and rated fourth in the latest WVSSAC football ratings.
"Cody is such a hard runner," Point Pleasant Coach David Darst said. "He is a big kid and he's hard to bring down. One kid has a hard time bringing him down and he's run over a few players this season trying to bring him down. He keeps a good low body and keeps his legs moving.
"I'm really impressed with him as a sophomore."
Cody grew up watching Derek, who's seven years his senior, perform on the gridiron, but is told he more resembles their father on the field.
"People tell me that I compare more with my dad than my brother because of our size," Cody Mitchell said. "Derek was a different type of player. Derek is quicker side to side and me and my father carry more weight and have a bigger body frame."