The gunslinger will soon be in the middle of the stampede.
Former Eastern Washington quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell signed a contract Monday with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, and will report to rookie camp on May 30.
“It’s pretty neat,” said Mitchell from his hometown of Katy, Texas, where he was joined by family and friends. “Growing up in Texas and playing football my whole life, and seeing how it comes to fruition, this is really exciting.”
Mitchell, nicknamed “The Gunslinger” by his EWU teammates, led the Eagles to the Football Championship Subdivision national title in 2010, and last year won the Walter Payton Award as the most valuable player in FCS.
And while he was bypassed in last weekend’s National Football League draft, Mitchell acknowledged what many experts had already said: that his game is a nice fit for the quarterback-friendly CFL.
Mitchell gives much of the credit to Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin and quarterbacks coach Zak Hill. “The style of offense, the run-and-shoot, with 12 players, really fits my style, and I’m ready to sling it.
“I’m planning on putting everything I’ve learned from coach Baldwin and coach Hill.”
Mitchell, whose CFL rights have been the property of the Stampeders since last year, participated in a CFL minicamp in early April and had said then that the Stampeders wanted to sign him.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Mitchell participated in a CFL mini-camp earlier this month and went undrafted by the NFL this past week.
After playing two seasons at Southern Methodist University, Mitchell transferred to Eastern in January 2010 and led the Eagles to the national title his first season. He was selected as the Most Outstanding Player in EWU’s 20-19 come-from-behind victory over Delaware in the title game.
In 2011, Mitchell led the FCS in four categories, including passing yards (4,009) and touchdown passes (33) on his way to breaking four school records. Mitchell threw for a nation’s-best 364.5 yards per game and 33 touchdowns.
The CFL has been a favorite landing spot for other top Big Sky players, including former EWU linebacker J.C. Sherritt, who won the Buck Buchanan Award in 2010 and now plays for the Edmonton Eskimos; and EWU defensive end Greg Peach, a Buchanan winner in 2008 who’s now with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Another Big Sky alum, former Montana quarterback Dave Dickenson, is the offensive coordinator of the Stampeders; Mitchell relates that Dickenson told him that “Watching your game, and looking at our offense, it’s a good fit.”