HERO Sports is counting down the days until the kickoff of the 2018 college football season on Saturday, Aug. 25, by featuring the best player in the FBS at each jersey number, from 99-1. Each day, from May 18 through Aug. 24, we'll publish one article showcasing the best player whose jersey number matches the number of days remaining.
"He's played left tackle like he was a senior. It's just been amazing. It's near impossible to do what Mitch has done. It's a rare thing."
That was Dabo Swinney on left tackle Mitch Hyatt one week before Clemson played Oklahoma in the 2015 Orange Bowl, a national semifinal of the College Football Playoff. Three years later, Hyatt is finally a senior and enters his final season as one of the best and most decorated offensive linemen in program history.
Hyatt was a five-star recruit and second-ranked tackle prospect in the 2015 class when he enrolled early and was thrown into the fire. At the time he was a second-stringer (starter Isaiah Battle left the program that summer) but he wasn't facing the Tigers' second-string defense. His task: Blocking All-American defensive end and future first-round pick Shaq Lawson during spring practice.
But it didn't last long. He took over for Battle and started every game as a true freshman on Clemson's national runner-up team. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder has since earned a pile of conference and national honors and passed on the 2018 draft for one more year.
“It really wasn’t hard for me; I just didn’t feel like I was ready," Mitch Hyatt said in March, adding it took "30 seconds" to make the decision. "I didn’t think I was physically prepared and just wanted to make the most of my college experience and really just develop physically and mentally. It really wasn’t that hard of a decision for me to come back and finish up my education and get better.”
Mitch Hyatt is the best No. 75 in college football and the third Clemson player featured in HERO Sports' College Football Countdown thus far.
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