College football

ATHENS, Ga. - It was in the best seller section of a Barnes & Noble in this college town that Kathy Rackley found a novel story of her own - a young man by the name of Malcolm Mitchell.

“I mean a chance encounter in a bookstore, how wonderful is that?” said Kathy. She had no idea who Mitchell was. “None whatsoever.”

And Malcolm didn’t tell her. “I knew they were going to find out,” Mitchell said. “But I wasn’t going to say it.”

Fact is, Rackley may have been the only one in Athens who didn’t know the name Malcolm Mitchell. Number 26 for the University of Georgia Bulldogs was one of the top recruits in the country a few years ago. He’s Georgia royalty.

And presumably, if Rackley had known that, she wouldn’t have stood in that Barnes & Noble talking his ear off about the book club she had just joined.

“I mean he like stepped back and he said ‘You did? You did?’ and he said, 'Can I join your book club?’” Rackley recalled.

“And I said, 'I don’t know if you want to join mine. We’re all 40-, 50-, and 60-year-old women.’”

But Mitchell was undeterred. So now, one of the top wide-receivers in the country has been meeting monthly with his book club lady friends.

He’s the only man, and the youngest by a generation – but Mitchell doesn’t care. Nor does he care what anyone thinks.

“Somebody called me a nerd. That’s not a word that I’m used to hearing,” he said. But he’s more than okay with the label. “I was proud of it… It’s like a badge of honor to me, knowing where I came from.”

Mitchell confessed that when he started college he could only read at about a junior high level, and it bothered him. So he started putting as much effort into his reading game as his football game.

Every free moment, he had a book in his hand. He’s now reading things he never dreamed he could, and although some of the book club selections he would never pick himself, Mitchell seems to enjoy them all.

After everything he’s accomplished, what’s he most proud of?

“I finished the 'Hunger Games’ series in about two days,” Mitchell said.

Wait, but what about the touchdowns?

“That came natural,” Mitchell said. “That’s a gift. I had to work to read.”

But his greatest talent may lie in his ability to step so outside his comfort zone, to be able to meet people and focus so sincerely on what they have in common, instead of their trivial differences.

Sometimes football makes men great. And sometimes, great men just happen to play football.

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Just Beautiful

He Can Play Football, And Christian McCaffrey Can Also Make Music.

Woof, Baby!

DeShone Kizer thinks he can be greatest quarterback ever to play in NFL

No quarterback prospect in next week’s NFL draft has been picked apart quite like DeShone Kizer since he declared in the wake of Notre Dame’s 4-8 finish and his own uneven play. Depending whom you ask inside the league, he could be just the fourth or fifth QB taken after North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Cal’s Davis Webb. But if you want to buy Kizer as a worthy first-round pick, this is a good place to start.

Playing loud enough to be heard in the background of an ESPN broadcast is pretty much the most a college marching band can hope for. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a fiercely competitive activity. Cracked wanted to know if the middle school stereotypes about “band geeks” hold true all the way at the top, so we sat down with John, formerly a trombonist in the Virginia Tech marching band, and Derek, a saxophonist with a Big Sky Conference team.

6 Weird Things You Experience In A Marching Band

usatoday.com
Finding Charles Rogers
He was once called the best player in college football. Now Rogers works at an auto repair shop on Florida's gulf coast.

Charles Rogers walked into the Michigan State University football building for the first time in 15 years on a cold cloudy day last November.

He’d been reluctant to return to the campus where he’d been a star, worried that the disappointments were all anybody would remember.

Without prompting from former MSU teammate TJ Duckett, he might not have come.

“I was facing my fear, bro,” Rogers said, skinny now, emphatically throwing his tattooed arms into the air.

But inside the Skandalaris Football Center that day, he and Duckett found themselves in front of a pillar encased in glass. Rogers’ photo was inside along with a replica of the 2002 Biletnikoff Trophy, given to the nation’s top wide receiver.