ATHENS — AD Mitchell is getting ready to take on Alabama once again this weekend. The last time he did so, he caught a go-ahead touchdown pass in the 2022 National Championship game.

On Saturday, he’ll be doing so as a member of the Texas Longhorns.

Mitchell departed the Georgia program back in January after winning national championships in each of his first two seasons. He also caught a touchdown pass in each of his four College Football Playoff games for the Bulldogs.

While Mitchell is no longer with the program, he did play a key role in landing a current Georgia, wide receiver in Dillon Bell

“AD Mitchell, the coaching staff for sure,” Bell said on why he left his home state of Texas for Georgia. “But AD, we went to the same middle school. I used to train with him in high school as well. He’s always been a guy I looked up to from a young age.”

Bell signed with Georgia as a member of the 2022 recruiting class out of The Kincaid School in Houston. Mitchell was a 2021 signee.

Despite the age difference, the two spent a significant amount of time together in Athens. Mitchell caught 9 passes for 134 yards last season, missing nine games due to an ankle injury he suffered against Samford.

Bell caught 20 passes for 180 yards as a freshman. He brought in 3 passes for 32 yards in Georgia’s opening win over UT-Martin. The sophomore wide receiver has been praised for his versatility, which has allowed him to earn a role on Georgia’s kickoff return team and at running back when needed.

“Everything is very fast paced here. I’s a big switch from high school, especially with the heat,” Bell said. “Having the heat and coach getting on our tail, it helped me a lot, especially when it came to big moments last year in the game. It’s basically not letting the moment get too big when all the pressure is on.”

Bell earned praise from head coach Kirby Smart for his ability to impact the game in a variety of ways. The sophomore clearly has a promising career ahead at Georgia.

“Dillon, we need at wideout, we need Dillon on special teams,” Smart said. “Dillon has had a really good camp in terms of being a wide receiver. He played that (RB) some in high school so that’s something he’s done before. With the way offenses are these days, you can get your touches a lot of ways, and we’ve got a lot of plays that involve perimeter blocking, direct runs, perimeter runs.”

Mitchell’s decision to transfer was difficult for Bell, given how close the two were. Mitchell transferred back home to Texas in part to be closer to his daughter. In Texas’ week 1 win over Rice, Mitchell caught 3 passes for 26 yards and a touchdown.

Bell never considered joining Mitchell at Texas, but he’s still rooting for his friend to find success with the Longhorns.

“It meant a lot. That was like my best friend here my freshman year. I was like dang. It was very sad. I was with him before he left for a long time. Just talking and chopping it up with him. I know he’s going to do good things at Texas.”

Georgia takes on Ball State this weekend, while Mitchell and the Longhorns visit Alabama. Georgia’s game is set for a 12 p.m. ET start, which should give Bell plenty of time to watch Mitchell when Texas kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Dillon Bell on AD Mitchell transfer decisions: ‘It was sad’