Birth of daughter, return home changed Adonai Mitchell's outlook

Photo by Paul Knight | Edit by Dave Campbell's

Share or Save for Later

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Save to Favorites

Adonai Mitchell isn’t a stranger to big moments. 

This is a wide receiver who caught the go-ahead touchdown pass in the national championship win over Alabama at the end of the 2021 season and in the 2022 semifinal win over Ohio State. He caught a touchdown in the blowout win over TCU to help the Bulldogs win a second straight title, too. 

But none of those moments were the biggest in Mitchell’s young life. And neither will Thursday when he'll possibly hear his name called in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. That’s because the biggest day of his life occurred over two years ago when his daughter, Icylinn McLaurine was born. 

“Now I know why parents say that no matter how big I get, they’ll always see me as their little baby,” Mitchell said. “No matter how big she gets, I still see her like the day she was born.”

Sports came easy to Mitchell. He was the youngest of three boys while growing up in Missouri City. He became a star on the gridiron at Fort Bend Ridge Point before transferring to Cane Ridge in Tennessee as a senior. He became a Top 10 prospect in the state of Tennessee during the 2020 season when he led his team with 49 receptions for 795 yards, and 11 touchdowns.

But parenthood didn’t come as easy to Mitchell as football. He said he never babysat before the birth of his daughter. When his cousins used to bring over their kids, he’d run out of the house. 

“I didn’t want to be anywhere near a kid,” Mitchell joked. “But now? I’m trying to be the best me I can be for her.”

The best "him" required a third relocation in his life. This time, from Georgia back to Texas. Mitchell entered the portal after the 2022 season despite starting 15 times in 21 appearances as a receiver for the two-time national champion Bulldogs. His choice to return to the Lone Star State to play for a Texas team that hadn’t won a conference title since 2009 caused some scratched heads.

“Getting back to Texas was the biggest thing for me when I was leaving Georgia,” Mitchell said. “Just not being able to be there and missing important family moments like not being over at my grandma’s house or spending time with them on Thanksgiving was hard.” 

Mitchell never saw the move back home as a choice between family and winning. He figured he could have the best of both worlds as a Longhorn, and he was right. Mitchell became the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year and a second-team all-conference selection as a junior while recording career highs in receptions (55), receiving yards (845) and touchdowns (11). All while Texas won a conference championship and reached the College Football Playoff for the first time. 

Mitchell proved to be a big-game player again in the Sugar Bowl loss to Washington when he recorded a touchdown reception in a CFP game for the fifth straight time. His next stop is the NFL. Dane Brugler of The Athletic recently mocked Mitchell to the Kansas City Chiefs with the 32nd pick of the upcoming draft. It's an ideal spot for a player known to shine on the brightest stages.

This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.

Sign In
Don't Miss Any Exclusive Coverage!

We've been the Bible of Texas football fans for 64 years. By joining the DCTF family you'll gain access to all of our exclusive content and have our magazines mailed to you!