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Mitchell puts aside pain

Former Mustang keeps plugging away for Oregon State despite multiple injuries.

November 26, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

The following are updates on area athletes at the collegiate level.

Lance Mitchell (Muir, 2007) Oregon State football, senior: The former Mustang, and son of Muir Coach Dave Mitchell, has been a force for the Beavers' secondary this season. The safety had recorded 67 tackles (34 solo and 33 assisted), which are the third most for Oregon State, coming into Saturday's game against Oregon. He also has two interceptions, has broken up five passes, defended seven more and recovered a fumble.

Mitchell, who's also a co-captain for the Beavers, was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after Oregon State defeated Washington State, 44-21, on Oct. 22. The senior made seven tackles, intercepted a pass and picked up a fumble in the game.

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The numbers haven't come easy for Mitchell this season, though, as he's been playing with pulled abdominal and groin muscles all year, according to an article posted on OregonLive.com on Nov. 8.

Mitchell contemplated having surgery before his senior season, but didn't want to risk missing any games this year, knowing that Oregon State's secondary was already shorthanded.

"I want to play and do as well as I can while I'm out here," Mitchell told OregonLive.com. "Try to make as many plays as I can. Not try to do anything special. Just do my job.''

Oregon State Coach Mike Riley knows Mitchell has sacrificed a lot for the team.

"People around the team know what Lance has gone through,'' Riley said. "What he's done is really admirable.''

Mitchell has continued to make the sacrifice, despite the Beavers being well out of the hunt for a bowl game this year. They came into Saturday's annual Civil War game against Oregon with a 3-8, record (3-5 in conference).

"He could have had surgery [for the abdominal/groin issues] in the summer time, but I don't think he felt like he [could have the surgery] and make it through the first few games of the season,'' Riley said. "The most important thing we found out is he couldn't really injure himself further. It couldn't get worse. It is what it is, and it will be taken care of after the season.''

With all Mitchell has gone through, he has still drawn interest from NFL scouts and has a good shot at playing on Sundays in the future. He is currently ranked 15th out of 115 strong safeties in the 2012 NFL draft class, according to NFLDraftScout.com.

"I definitely want to keep playing, because I think I can," Mitchell said.

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