ATHENS – Community service awards continue to roll in for Malcolm Mitchell.
The latest will come from the Atlanta Sports Council. The former Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who is currently training for the NFL draft, will receive the Community Spirit Award at the council’s 11th annual Atlanta Sports Awards on Feb. 25 at The Fabulous Fox Theatre.
“Malcolm Mitchell is the essence of community spirit,” said Dan Corso, executive director of the Atlanta Sports Council. “He has made an incredible difference in the lives of so many people. The commitment he has made not only to the football team but also the greater Athens and Atlanta communities speaks to the tremendous character this young man possesses.”
According to Atlanta Sports Award literature, the Community Spirit Award is presented annually to an individual with local ties who is actively involved in the community and epitomizes the highest standards for leadership, sportsmanship and integrity. It also helps if they’re good in their respective sport.
Mitchell certainly fills the bill on both counts. As a senior this past season, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound split end led the Bulldogs with 58 catches for 865 yards and five touchdowns. With five catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in the TaxSlayer Bowl, Mitchell ended his career ranked third in school history with 174 catches, sixth in receiving yards (2,350) and tied for eighth in TD receptions (16). That’s despite missing almost two full seasons due to knee injuries. He played in the Senior Bowl in Mobile last week.
But what has distinguished Mitchell more than anything else is his passion for children’s literacy. Mitchell created the program “Reading with Malcolm,” a campaign that encourages young children and their parents to spend more time reading books. To support this initiative, Mitchell wrote and published his own children’s book entitled “The Magician’s Hat.”
Mitchell regularly reads to kids at elementary and middle schools, serves as a guest motivational speaker as part of music artist Usher’s New Look Foundation, volunteers in UGA”s “Learn, Play, Excel” program and participates in a number of other community service projects.
“I really appreciated the way the Athens community took me in and made me feel like family during my time at UGA,” the Valdosta native said in an Atlanta Sports Council release. “I felt like I needed to reach out and make a difference in the community, on and off the field. Football is important, but I wanted kids to see that reading books and getting an education are just as important.”
Mitchell joins fellow former UGA wide receiver Chris Conley as just the second collegiate athlete to ever win the award.