5-Star Alabama Clerk Tony Mitchell Receives Rave Review From Trent Dilfer

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ALABASTER−Alabama Football 2023 Commits Tony Mitchell got a quality test in Thompson’s home opener on Saturday.

For a rare change, the five-star safety commitment, the nation’s No. 24 rookie according to the 247Sports Composite, saw the ball thrown a lot against Lipscomb Academy, the defending Division II-AA state champions of the Tennessee, who won 24-14.

Lipscomb (2-0), coached by Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer, rushed for just 10 yards on 13 carries against Thompson (0-2), the three-time highest-ranking reigning champion in Alabama.

Dilfer knew his team wouldn’t run on Thompson because “you can’t do it against them. It’s pretty simple.” Against an all-Alabama schedule in 2021, Thompson allowed just 7.1 points per game.

It’s a tough pill to swallow when you have to throw against Mitchell, the nation’s No. 2 safety, and two more prized secondary recruits in Anquon Fegans and Kaleb Harris.

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Lipscomb, however, braved and passed 22 for 40 for 177 yards and a touchdown. Planning the game against Mitchell was “brutal” for the former NFL star.

“We thrive on owning the perimeter,” Dilfer said. “He’s so physical, he’s long, he’s tough, smart. They’re so hard to prepare because you kind of know you can’t run the ball.

“You kind of have to keep them honest. But then the passes that you normally think you can get solid plays with are perimeter breakers. They’re inside breakers and perimeter breakers.”

Mitchell is one of the most versatile secondary defensemen out there, and his specialty is his ability to win on the scrimmage and jam receiver line. But Dilfer was surprised at how smoothly Mitchell roamed the pitch.

Mitchell is a key cog in Alabama’s No. 1 class, which includes four five-star commitments.

“I think they move a little better than I thought they would,” Dilfer said. “I thought they were long, physical guys. I didn’t know how much they moved. They move well. They’re Power Five, SEC players.”

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Thompson’s defense, led by Mitchell and Peter Woods, committed to Clemson’s five-star defensive line, allowed just 10 points. Lipscomb scored on an interception return and a 98-yard fumble return in the second half, part of a 24-0 run to end the game.

It was Thompson’s first home loss at Warrior Stadium, which opened in 2018.

“It was just tough sledding,” Dilfer said. “We had the mentality that we were going to try and spit it out as much as possible, throw it as much as possible. We knew there would be a lot of bad plays. We just want to stick with it. Our defense was going to have to turn the game around. and they did.”

Jerell Rushin is a recruiting reporter for Tuscaloosa News and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @JerellRushin_.

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