Aaron Mizell: A success from the start

Layne Saliba

It seems like everywhere he goes, his team finds success. Freshman year of high school – best team in school’s history. Freshman year of Junior College – ranked third in the nation. First year at Georgia Southern – Conference champions. There is not a lot that senior RF Aaron Mizell has not done or seen.

Mizell comes from a long line of baseball players that all begins with his grandfather. A three sport collegiate athlete that fell in love with baseball passed it on to his son, who then passed the love on to his own two sons.

“He’s not with us anymore but he was a huge influence. He was quite a good baseball player himself, and I’d say he was definitely my biggest influence, on more than just baseball, but definitely baseball too,” Mizell said.

Mizell came to Georgia Southern during his junior year of college after transferring from Gordon State College. Gordon State was never the end goal for Mizell, it was merely a stepping stone on the path to something greater.

Mizell was not challenged as much as he would have liked to be, playing on a small town single-A team in high school. Because of this, he was not able to progress and develop his skills the way he wanted. So, he chose to accept an offer from Gordon State in order to get the college experience away from home, become more of a man and get better at baseball. And it all happened, just the way he wanted it.

During summer ball, Georgia Southern spotted Mizell fairly early and liked what they saw from him. This prompted the coaches to call Mizell – the first of a few different Division 1 calls. Nonetheless, they began the recruitment process which led to a Georgia Southern visit. His first reaction was a feeling that he would fit in well. It also helped that Statesboro is a short drive from his hometown.

“It was just the right fit for me. I liked the coaches and I knew one or two guys on the team already, and I knew they were good guys. It just felt like an atmosphere that I wanted to be a part of,” Mizell said.

He was not wrong about it being the right fit. Last year on the Eagles’ 2014 Southern Conference championship team, Mizell posted a .309 batting average in 246 at bats. He led the team with 53 RBIs which ranked No. 41 in the nation and 13 home runs which put him at No. 16 in the nation. Mizell also was able to add 13 doubles and two triples throughout the season.

“I mean, the baseball experience has been great. If you don’t love winning a championship like we did last year and having the fun we did, then you’re in the wrong place. It’s just an amazing experience,” Mizell said. “But even outside of baseball, the relationships I’ve built with my teammates, coaches and people around Statesboro have been awesome. I’ve got some lifelong relationships that have come from this and that’s something I’ll take with me long past baseball.”

This year, Mizell is on track to post some of the same numbers. He leads the team with a .311 batting average, 31 runs, 41 hits, eight doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 27 RBIs. Those statistics are very impressive, but even more impressive for the smallest guy on the team.

Mizell stands at 5-foot-10 and weighs 155 pounds. So, it is a surprise to see him leading in so many categories. Hitting home runs is fun for him and it is something he has always enjoyed doing since he was able to in high school.

“There’s a little bit of joking around that goes on. I mean, we do it to everybody. Like if someone hits a ball off the wall, we’ll tell him we’ve got weights tomorrow if you want to come lift with us or something like that. We joke around in a happy way, though. Nothing really serious. And I don’t really pick on anybody because I am small. I just go out there and do my best,” Mizell said.

Mizell has also been fortunate to not have any sort of major injury. Other than some minor bumps or bruises, he hasn’t had an injury keep him out of the game for an extended amount of time. He has found a way to remain healthy and plans to keep that going for the remainder of the season.

“I mean, if you’re given the ability to do anything, you should go out and do it. That’s the big thing for me. The good Lord gave me the ability to play baseball so I’m going to go play baseball,” Mizell said. “That’s kind of how I view it. You don’t get to do this for forever, obviously, and it’s fun to enjoy it while you can and to do it with a purpose. I’ve been blessed with it, and I’ve been handed the opportunity so I think that’s what helps me get fired up and ready to go do it every single day.”

Even though Mizell would love to play baseball his entire life, it’s a career path that does not offer much security. Mizell chooses not to focus on that though. He focuses on getting a degree in biology – in hopes of working with animals.

It is easy to see that Mizell is full of surprises. From helping his teams succeed in his first season with each of them, to posting impressive statistics as a small athlete, to being intrigued with reptiles. Mizell is simply a gift that keeps on giving.