‘This is crazy:’ Georgia’s AD Mitchell reflects on go-ahead TD vs. Alabama

ATHENS -- Winning it all as a freshman last season, not to mention pulling in the go-ahead touchdown pass in the national championship game, set the bar high for wide receiver Adonai Mitchell’s career at Georgia.

“My number ended up being called,” Mitchell said of the significance of that catch. “It was a great ball by (quarterback) Stetson (Bennett), and I was fortunate enough to make the catch,” Mitchell, nicknamed “AD,” said Tuesday after practice. “I’d say it was probably afterward, when I got to my phone, I realized, ‘Oh, dang. This is crazy.’ … It was like a dream come true. Growing up, every kid that plays football dreams of being on a stage like that. It was just crazy. I can’t even explain it to this day.”

On Mitchell’s epic play, Alabama jumped offside, giving Georgia a freebie. Bennett launched the ball deep, with Mitchell fighting through a defender to haul in the catch toward the back of the end zone, holding onto the ball as he was dragged down. He blew kisses to the crowd after the 40-yard score.

The play put Georgia up 19-18 early in the fourth quarter, before the Bulldogs piled on to win 33-18, finally taking down the Crimson Tide and earning their first national title since 1980. People know who he is now, Mitchell said, and know he made that catch. But not much else has changed for him.

He’s still putting in steady work “day-by-day, brick-by-brick,” in his words.

As a freshman, Mitchell finished third on the team with 426 receiving yards and four touchdowns, helping the Bulldogs compensate after losing George Pickens to injury. As successful as his debut was, Mitchell is looking to grow as a sophomore, with a full year of experience under his belt.

“I would say I’m more comfortable because last year, I was still trying to pick up the playbook as I’m going through fall camp,” Mitchell said. “Now I basically have that down. Once you get that down, the game slows down for you a little bit. You’re able to think about how you’re going to execute the plays. Versus getting lined up and being like, ‘Oh, snap, do I have this route, do I block?’ Everything was going fast last year.”

Mitchell took a road trip with Bennett this offseason, which helped an already strong relationship develop even more.

In camp, he focused on working to get open more.

“Coach Kirby (Smart) talks every day about strain, so working on straining to finish plays,” Mitchell said. “Just everything.”

Overall, Mitchell feels much more prepared and situated going into this season than he did last year.

“In (last year’s season opener vs. Clemson), I was a young freshman,” Mitchell said. “Now, I am going into the second year in the offense, and I am getting more comfortable. I just recognize the signals now. I’m able to process quicker than I was last year.”