Star quarterback Ian Mitchell '10 to play in German Football League
by Bill Sulon
October 28, 2010
Ian Mitchell '10 will start at quarterback for the Frankfurt Universe in the German Football League.
Ian Mitchell has achieved his boyhood dream.
The philanthropic Red Devil, who starred at quarterback during his four years at Dickinson and was named quarterbacks coach at the start of the team’s 2010-11 season, has signed a deal to play with the Frankfurt Universe, a German Football League team.
Mitchell, of Newtown Square, Pa., will start at quarterback for the Frankfurt Universe when it opens its 2011 season in March. He will rejoin the Dickinson coaching staff in September 2011, after the Frankfurt season ends.
“It has always been a life-long dream of mine to play professional football,” said Mitchell, who graduated in May with a degree in religion.
His family and friends reminded him of that dream when he considered the team’s invitation to play in Germany. As he considered the proposal, Mitchell’s girlfriend said, “Ian, what have you always wanted to do since you were a little kid?”
“That answer is, ‘play pro football,’ and that is something I have finally achieved, something no one can ever take away from me,” Mitchell said.
“He will be an excellent representative for Dickinson College, our football program and the Centennial Conference while playing football professionally,” head football coach Darwin Breaux said. “I am happy he will represent our program and school in Germany. It is global experience at its finest.”
Mitchell was a three-time All-Centennial Conference selection at quarterback, breaking numerous conference and school records. He led the Red Devils to a conference title and a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III playoff appearance in 2006, and the Eastern College Athletic Conference Southeast Championship in 2007.
Mitchell was voted Rookie of the Year in 2006, and named the team’s offensive Most Valuable Player in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In addition to his school and conference records, he became the first quarterback in Centennial Conference history to rush for more than 2,000 yards and throw for more than 5,000 yards in his career.
Mitchell earned an internship with the Philadelphia Eagles over the summer and worked with the team during preseason training.
Representatives of the Frankfurt Universe attempted to sign Mitchell to start playing last spring. He declined.
“Obviously, graduating from Dickinson was something that had always been a goal for me, so I bypassed the chance to play,” he said. “Luckily, they have seen enough film from my games at Dickinson that the offer was still on the table this year.”
Earlier this year Mitchell was voted the Rare Disease Champion by Uplifting Athletes after a groundswell of local and national support. Teammates, classmates, alumni, faculty, staff, parents and the Carlisle community voted for him. Support also came from other Division III colleges and universities, members of the Centennial Conference and liberal-arts colleges throughout the nation.
Uplifting Athletes, a national nonprofit organization that links college football with research on rare diseases, sponsored the award. The Rare Disease Champion award recognizes a leader in sports who has realized his potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the rare disease community.
Inspired by family members and friends who suffered from cancer, Mitchell began his fundraising efforts in high school, generating $10,000 in donations based on total yards he gained rushing, passing and receiving.
One of Mitchell's closest high-school friends was Evan Brady, who lost a battle with cancer in 2005. Brady, coming out of eighth grade, was one of the top lacrosse players in the country and received an athletic scholarship to attend Malvern Preparatory School. He never got a chance to play.
As a Red Devil athlete, Mitchell continued his football fundraising efforts, collecting more than $95,000 during his four years as a Dickinson student athlete.
“Ian led by example through philanthropy work supporting charities and becoming the all-time leader in total offense for Dickinson Football,” Breaux said.
Mitchell said he will take stock of his playing and coaching career after he gets one season under his belt with the Frankfurt Universe, which plays under the same rules as the National Football League.
“I haven't decided on how many years I plan to play over in Germany,” Mitchell said. “I’m lucky enough to be able to play one year.”
Learn more about Mitchell's summer at the Philadelphia Eagles' training camp and his award earlier this year as an Uplifting Athlete.