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.
By his own admission, Tyler Mitchell didn't play well in 2016, his redshirt freshman season. The Kansas State guard was one of four new starters on the Wildcats' offensive line and lost his job for seven games.
“I hit a bump but I kept on practicing hard,” Mitchell said last August. “I would come out every day looking for a way to improve. I came back and started the last four games and got a lot better."
Even with the strong finish, Mitchell was K-State's lowest-graded offensive regular (42.0), according to Pro Football Focus.
"A lot of people, when they lose their job early, they kind of give up on the season and think they can’t win it back,” said Scott Frantz, a fellow first-time starter two years ago. “Tyler was never that way. He kept grinding and kept practicing hard and he got an opportunity to play again and it worked out for him.”
Mitchell, a 6-foot-4, 304-pounder from Mathews, Ala., started all 13 games at right guard last year and saw the biggest increase in PFF grade of any Kansas State player (plus-39.0). And he's now the best No. 62 in college football, earning the nod over Arkansas' Johnny Gibson Jr., Penn State's Michal Menet and others, and joining teammate Dalton Risner on the list.
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