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Thu., April 29, 2010, 3:41 p.m.

Mitchell gets nod as EWU’s No. 1 QB

Eastern Washington football coach Beau Baldwin made it official on Thursday, by saying Bo Levi Mitchell will be the Eagles' starting quarterback heading into fall camp.  You can read an unedited version of the story that will appear in Friday morning's S-R below.


As promised, Beau Baldwin has settled on a starting quarterback.



And as expected, that quarterback is Bo Levi Mitchell.



Baldwin, Eastern Washington University’s third-year head football coach, officially named Mitchell, a junior and first-year transfer from Southern Methodist University, as the young man most deserving – and capable – of filling the high-profile position that was vacated last fall by four-year starter Matt Nichols, who recently signed a free-agent contract with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.



Baldwin made the announcement on Thursday after postponing the Eagles’ final practice of the spring until today.



“He’s performed extremely well, considering he had to learn a new system,” Baldwin said of the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Mitchell, a former prep standout at Katy (Texas) High School, who made an official recruiting visit to EWU as a senior before opting to sign with SMU, where he started all 19 games he played in Mustangs coach June Jones’ run-and-shoot offense.



“He has all the tools it takes to be a great collegiate quarterback at any level. He can make every throw in our offense, and do them well – and a lot of them are not easy.”



When spring practice started, Mitchell was one of six quarterbacks competing for the starting position. But he quickly established himself as the favorite to replace Nichols and took the majority of his snaps with the No. 1 offensive unit.



In his two seasons at SMU, Mitchell completed 57 percent (385-676) of his passes for 4,590 yards and 36 touchdowns, while also throwing 33 interceptions – including four in last fall’s 30-27 non-conference road loss to a Washington State team that finished 1-11.



He started all 12 games as a true freshman for the Mustangs in 2008 and the first seven in 2010 before suffering a shoulder injury and losing the starting job to freshman Kyle Padron, who led the SMU to a 5-1 finish that included a 45-10 win over Nevada in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.



Mitchell arrived at EWU this spring and immediately impressed coaches and teammates, alike, with his arm strength and accuracy.  He completed 24 of 36 passes for 351-yards and three touchdowns in Eastern’s three spring scrimmages and helped his White team to 20-0 win in the Eagles annual Red-White Game.



Four other quarterback candidates – juniors Nick Gauthier and Greg Panelli, sophomore Scott Burgett and freshman Anthony Vitto – are expected to compete for the backup position next fall.  Another former candidate, Jeff Minerly, was moved to safety earlier this spring.



“All of our quarterbacks have competed well, and we’ve seen some good things out of all of them,” Baldwin said, adding he still felt that Mitchell would give his team the best chance to beat Nevada in its 2010 season opener in Reno on Sept. 2.



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