- Associated Press - Thursday, September 2, 2010

VALDOSTA, GA. (AP) - One of Georgia’s top defensive back prospects won’t be playing defense this season.

Valdosta High coach Rance Gillespie says it doesn’t make sense to have Malcolm Mitchell line up at safety when the senior could make a bigger impact at receiver.

That’s because the former Georgia Southern offensive coordinator says at safety he might have few chances to make a big play.

Malcolm has great work habits and has made the transition to receiver,” he said, adding that Mitchell “will not play much defense.”

Mitchell (6-1, 185) played safety as a junior but has moved to offense under the first-year coach. Mitchell, who runs the 40 in about 4.4 seconds, is still regarded as a probable safety or cornerback in college, Gillespie said.

He’s on The Associated Press South Region 25 list of top recruits and is rated by Scout.com as the No. 13 cornerback in the nation. Rivals.com rates Mitchell as the No. 11 safety in the nation.

“We want him to be where he’s a huge contributor,” Gillespie said. “He’s got good ball skills. He can run. We want to try to score points. He’s a threat anytime you get the ball in his hands. It just makes no sense to play him at corner where we may play against a team that throws the ball eight to 10 times and nine of those away from him.”

Mitchell’s move to offense gives Valdosta another threat to join Jay Rome, rated as Scout.com’s No. 1 tight end in the nation. Mitchell and Rome have made some recruiting trips together.

Gillespie said Mitchell is “a solid B student” who has the grades and test score to meet NCAA academic entrance requirements.