Winter Park safety’s mom can plan his Gator party now
Dakota Mitchell knew in his heart he was meant to be a Florida Gator.
Now he is one.
The Winter Park safety, who committed to play for LSU three months ago, changed his mind last week and decommitted from his pledge. Six days later, he has committed to Florida.
He almost committed in September of last year.
He received a scholarship offer from Gators assistant director of player personnel Keiwan Ratliff, and he nearly committed to UF, which he called his “dream school,” that day.
He had an emotional response to the September offer.
“I felt amazing. I felt like I wanted to cry. … Like, I wanted to cry, but you know how you’re so excited it just won’t come out? That’s how my feeling was. I was not expecting that,” said the 6-foot, 180-pounder, who serves numerous roles on offense and defense for Winter Park.
“Florida’s been my dream school since I was like five … since I was so little. So, for that to happen … my whole family — my brothers, my mom and my stepdad — they heard on the phone when he said that and they all started jumping around.”
In fact, he said his mom nearly threw him a party that weekend. At the time he had only three Football Bowl Subdivision offers — Illinois, Syracuse and West Virginia, so the Gators’ offer was his first huge break.
But then he got caught up in the hype of LSU’s undefeated national-championship season and his infatuation led him to commit to Ed Orgeron’s group. His heart, however, got the best of him after giving himself time to think.
Mitchell has offers from all of the upperechelon programs in the country. He released his top-five schools last week after decommitting from LSU, listing Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Oklahoma.
Thursday night, he posted his decision on Twitter: “I’m staying home. 100% committed to the swamp #GoGators”
Mitchell is the second Winter Park player to committ to a Power 5 program in the 2021 recruiting class, joining cornerback Daniel Edwards, who is headed to Illinois.
Mitchell said he nearly committed to Florida when he was first offered by the Gators. His mom can throw that party now.