You don't usually expect football players to author children's books during their playing career, which is why Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell is such an anomaly.
The 22-year-old Bulldog was an average reader back in school, but found a passion for literature after entering college. The culmination is his story book for children.
Named The Magician’s Hat, Mitchell's book takes inspiration from his own story but is molded in a form understandable for little minds.
"My journey into reading really inspired me to start doing some writing on my own and working with kids pushed me toward the picture book and children's book realm," Mitchell told UGASports.com. "I wrote a story a while ago, and for about a year and half I've been working to get it to the point that you see today."
In a separate interview with USA Today, Mitchell added: “Today is the first time I’ve talked about it. With writing it’s almost personal. This is a piece of me. It's my vision, it's my heart it’s my words. Opening up and sharing that with everybody isn’t the easiest thing to do, but if you want to get a message out you have to open your arms and allow people to step in and today is my attempt to do that.”
Dogged by injuries, Mitchell has been forced to spend considerable time on the sidelines in the past few seasons. Most others in his condition would either bide their time, hit the gym or become party animals, but not Mitchell. He chose to join an all-women’s book club to improve his reading and he says this new hobby improved his mood too.
"I definitely believe that story would not have been possible if I didn't get injured because it definitely gave me time to read a lot more," he told UGASports. "So I kind of do appreciate the injury more so than I did initially. I didn't think I would ever say that."
His side career doesn't, however, mean that he would go soft on his dream of making it to the NFL. Mitchell feels writing and football aren't mutually exclusive and he can do justice to both. Hence, don't be surprised if one day an NFL player out of UGA has a bibliography instead of rap sheet and is a rare combo of brawn and brains.