Some very sad and tragic news to pass along: former Iowa running back Derrick Mitchell, Jr. passed away over the weekend. Mitchell died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident. He was only 24.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed Mitchell's death at his regular press conference earlier today and offered condolences to Mitchell's family and friends:
Former Iowa RB Derrick Mitchell Jr. died from injuries after a car accident late last week.— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) October 8, 2019
Kirk Ferentz offered his condolences during today's press conference.
"It's just a very tough thing. Way, way too young for something like that to happen." pic.twitter.com/9aEM7KUg8N
Mitchell played for Iowa in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He saw his most playing time during Iowa's memorable 2015 season, when he ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries (6.48 ypc). He also caught 15 passes for 141 yards (9.4 yards per reception). His biggest game that season came against Northwestern in Iowa's 40-10 win; Mitchell ran for 79 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, while also catching three passes for 43 yards. Mitchell was was an embodiment of the "next man in" ethos that helped guide Iowa to a 12-0 regular season; Iowa's offense was severely hobbled entering that game, with fellow running backs Leshun Daniels and Jordan Canzeri both injured, quarterback C.J. Beathard very banged up, and a somewhat patchwork OL, but Mitchell (as well as Akrum Wadley) stepped up and provided plenty of offensive pop to help guide Iowa to a win.
With so many running back mouths to feed, someone was bound to be the odd man out and that ended up being Mitchell more often than not. He had just two carries for 12 yards and six receptions for 24 yards in the 2016 season. After 2016, Mitchell opted to leave Iowa as a graduate transfer. He went to Texas Tech first, before eventually landing at Incarnate Word, an FCS school, where he ran for 601 yards and five touchdowns in 2017.
Many of Mitchell's former friends and teammates expressed their condolences, including Wadley:
More comments from his friends and family are available here.
Mitchell's death is stunning and sad and all too sudden. Our deepest condolences to his friends, teammates, and family members as they deal with this tragedy. Rest in peace, Derrick.