Living in St. Louis, University of Missouri fans surround Derrick Mitchell. The Tigers faithful joke with the wide receiver when learning he'll play at an out-of-state school.
"Some people tell me that (Iowa) isn't the real black and gold," Mitchell said. "I tell them I'm going to turn it into the real black and gold for them."
Mitchell verbally committed to the Hawkeyes in June. He officially visited Iowa this past weekend.
"It was amazing," Mitchell said. "It was something I never experienced before. The college atmosphere was amazing."
Scout.com rates the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Mitchell as a three-star recruit on its five-star scale. The service pegs him as the 81st-best safety in the country for '13. He says he will playing on the other side of the ball for the Hawkeyes.
"Coach (Kirk) Ferentz said they're going to have me at receiver," Mitchell said. "I asked him about kick returns. He said there's a good possibility that I could be returning kicks and punts."
Mitchell likes his chances of being on the field this fall.
"We talked about it," the Vashon High Standout said. "I think they think I'm ready to play coming in and I can play as a freshman. I've been working so I can be ready to play as a freshman. To me, I feel like my chances are high to play right away."
Mitchell visited Iowa with his father, Derrick Mitchell Sr., the principal at Vashon.
"He thought it was great," Derrick said.
Derrick said it's not a big deal attending a high school where his father serves as its main administrator.
"It's not hard at all," he said. "I'm a good student. I do what I have to do in class.
"Everybody expects something different from me but I'm going to be a regular kid and I'm going to have fun. High school is supposed to be fun but I'm going to make the grades at the end of the day."
Mitchell said back in December that he still hand't qualified academically for college and needed another point on his ACT score to do so. He said that might not be the case anymore after he received his grades from the first half of his senior year.
"I think I'm (qualified) but I take the (ACT) test again next week," Mitchell said. "I want to make sure that I'm all the way good."
Even after Mitchell pledged to the Hawkeyes in the summer, other schools continued to pursue him.
"I haven't thought about going anywhere else since I committed to Iowa," he said. "I think 13 other schools offered me. Almost all of the schools that offered me came through the building during the season."
Mitchell runs sprint relays for the Vashon track team. He also is one of the stars of the basketball team, for which he recently scored 47 points in a game that saw him sink eight three-pointers.
"My basketball coach told me that I had some looks (from college recruiters) but I haven't gotten any scholarship offers," Mitchell said. "I thought about playing basketball in college. That's another thing I love along with football."
Mitchell said the biggest thing he took out of his official visit was the need for strong time management as a college student-athlete. He was hosted by Reese Fleming.
"I want my major to be sports related because that's something I love," he said.
While he's gotten used to the good-natured ribbing at the hands of Missouri fans, he receives plenty of encouraging feedback as well.
"Most people tell me that they're proud of me and that I need to do what I need to do to be successful," he said.