Blair Hardin had moved on without Cullin Mitchell.
The Chiefs running back had moved back to Virginia after the 2014 football season. So, the North Myrtle Beach coach was happy to have one of his brightest younger players back at the school in time for fall camp. Mitchell and his mother returned to Little River in July, and he’s already resumed his role as one of the Chiefs’ starting tailbacks.
“When you have a guy that has 11-game experience and a tough kid, you’re happy to have him back,” Hardin said. “When I saw him, I told him to get … in the weight room.”
That’s exactly where the players learned of his return.
“He just randomly showed up in the weight room,” quarterback Ronnie Bass said. “That was a good surprise.”
As a sophomore, Mitchell blossomed during the second half of the season after Hardin installed his triple-option offense, going with Bass and Mitchell over some older players. Mitchell finished with 261 yards rushing, all but 16 of which came after the start of region play.
He scored an overtime touchdown against Georgetown in his first full action of the year and went for 106 total yards in a regular-season finale victory over Region VII-AAA champion Myrtle Beach.
Mitchell will start alongside sophomore Kered Class, who was the one of the program’s junior varsity starters a year ago.