Two days after being named the Most Outstanding player of the Redbox Bowl, Oregon wide receiver Dillon Mitchell announced that he will forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
Mitchell, who made the announcement via his Twitter account, is coming off the greatest season as a wide receiver in Oregon history. After his six-catch, 70-yard performance in the bowl game, Mitchell set the Ducks’ single-season record for receiving yards in a season, finishing with 1,184 yards — breaking Josh Huff’s record of 1,140 yards.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for the tremendous support and cheers I’ve received since coming to Oregon in 2016,” Mitchell said on his Twitter account. “It has been great living a childhood dream these last 3 years. Ever since 7th grade, I wanted to be an Oregon Duck. I fell in love with the uniforms, the players, the fast spread offense, and the Nike brand. A lot of my peers and people doubted me making it here way back then. But through a lot of hard work, determination and support I was able to make that dream come true. Through this journey, I have made unforgettable lasting memories and brothers for life. I will always cherish my time here and know that I am an Oregon Duck for life. I don’t know what the future holds but I am going to put it all in God’s hands. With that being said, I would like to announce that I am declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft.”
“Since playing in little league, I’ve dreamed about this opportunity and believe that I am ready for the challenge ahead and the next chapter in my life. I want to thank my parents, sister, grandparents, and everyone who has supported me throughout this entire journey. I also want to thank coach Mario Cristobal, the entire coaching staff, support staff, and my teammates for without them, none of this would be possible. Lastly, I want to thank former Oregon coaches Matt Lubick and Mark Helfrich for recruiting me and offering me a scholarship to the University of Oregon.”
On the season, Mitchell tallied 75 catches and 10 touchdowns, numbers that both rank third in Oregon single-season history. He was far and above quarterback Justin Herbert’s favorite target, accounting for one-third of the Ducks’ entire passing offense.
When Herbert announced his return for next season, Oregon fans began dreaming of having the Herbert-Mitchell combination back for another season. Mitchell helped fuel those dreams when he said that Herbert’s decision would affect his — but in the end it wasn’t enough to get him to stay.
Mitchell's decision to leave is Oregon's lone junior to forego their senior season and enter the draft — as of now. The Ducks are still awaiting the decision of linebacker Troy Dye, Oregon's leading tackler each of the past three seasons. Herbert, along with linemen Jake Hanson, Calvin Throckmorton and Shane Lemieux have all decide to return next year.
Most early mock drafts don’t have Mitchell going in the first three rounds, relegating the 6-foot-3, 190-pound pass catcher as a late-day 2 or early-day 3 type of pick.