Linebacker Teradja Mitchell is Ohio State football's fashion expert
As a senior who had played in 28 games, Teradja Mitchell brought critical experience to the Ohio State linebacking corp entering this year.
And he's done more than mentor young players. Mitchell is second on the team with 41 tackles. He has four tackles for loss. And he compiled those numbers while missing the Tulsa game. (Ohio State does not disclose the reason for a player's absence, but Mitchell was listed as a game-time decision before kickoff that week.)
His contributions will be even more important as Ohio State faces Nebraska for two reasons. First, the Huskers average 29.9 points per game, more than any Big Ten opponent OSU has faced to date, and more than any opponent the Buckeyes have played since their loss to Oregon (36.1). Second, Ohio State will be without linebacker Steele Chambers for the first half Saturday due to Chambers' ejection for targeting against Penn State.
Week 1:Nicholas Petit-Frere roots hard for the 'OSU Luckeyes.'
Week 2:Cody Simon could be OSU's No. 1 singer, he's definitely Kobe Bryant's No. 1 fan
Week 3:Bryson Shaw might be Ohio State's funniest player, no joke
Week 4: Jesse Mirco is Ohio State's country music fan, not from this country
Week 5: Cam Brown was bowling before his Ohio State playing career took him to bowl games
Week 6: Jaxon Smith-Njigba opens up about the challenges of college life
Week 7: Marcus Williamson is Ohio State's philosopher defensive back
Week 8: Emeka Egbuka is a wordly and wise wide receiver
Learn more about Teradja Mitchell with this Columbus Dispatch Q&A.
Meet Ohio State football linebacker Teradja Mitchell
So you're into fashion?
Yes, that's my major.
How did you get into fashion?
Growing up in the Virginia Beach, seeing idols like Pharrell, Missy Elliott ... what they've done in the fashion world always inspired me growing up and I eventually, just — it became one of my passions.
So what's the best drip in your closet?
The best drip in my closet? Oh. I've got some good stuff in my closet. I would say my favorite thing is that I have a pair of John Geigers. Those are my favorites.
What's the coolest project you've done as a fashion major at Ohio State?
So far the coolest project was learning how to use photoshop. I thought that was cool. And that ended up helping me launch my clothing brand. I started out making designs for myself through that class. Learning how to do photoshop through a project helped me to launch my brand quicker than I thought. I was originally going to reach out to someone else to do it for me, but I learned how to do it myself.
Now that's Above the Realm, correct?
Pretend that I am not cool, in fact, so uncool that I don't know what this means.
So the motto for it is "the street wear for the striver." I wanted to create a clothing brand that basically talks about elevating and striving to be above, striving to be above the rest. That's where kind of Above the Realm came from. And an alien (in the logo)? You know, aliens are out of this world. Striving to be out of this world, it's kind of an abstract way of portraying elevating and always wanting to be at your best, be at your peak. That's where it came from.
Obviously, you're in first place. But who's the second best-dressed Ohio State Buckeye?
I'm going to go with Lejond Cavazos.
What do you like about his fashion sense?
It's different. ... A lot of people think drip is just having on the latest stuff. Nah. It's about how you express it, how you put it on. That's the most important. I feel like he always — every fit he puts on is just dope. It's eye-catching every time.
Does it have to be like the clothes you see in fashion shows? Because I watch those and think nobody would ever wear that?
I feel like fashion is a form of expression. And I feel like your expression of your fashion has a direct influence on your personality. So when I see those, I don't think, like, 'Ugh.' It's just me, personally, I would never wear that because that doesn't reflect my personality and how I view fashion. Because I feel like fashion is more like an expressive way of showing yourself.
So in other words, you don't have to dress like a runway model?
No, no, no. You don't have to have on the latest designer. It's about how you color coordinate, things of that nature.
Now I'm going to run through some competitions you could be involved in, and I want you to tell me how you think you would do, OK?
I think I would do good. I think would do good in a spelling bee.
Baking competition? I would definitely do good in that. I think I would win a baking competition.
What would be your winning dish?
Mmm. That I don't know.
You're just versatile in the kitchen, huh?
Yeah. I'm from Virginia. My people can cook. My peoples can cook, so I think I would win that.
And "The Bachelor." And you're not the one handing out the rose, you have to survive the eliminations.
I would come in last.
Well, she's missing out because you can cook.
I feel like I wouldn't even do that because I'm going to automatically lose because I would be like, 'Hold on. I'm competing with other guys here. Nah, I can't do it. You're seeing other guys.' I would be out first round.
What's something you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
I started reading books. I read books in elementary, obviously, and middle school and high school when you had to. But I noticed, I can read books and retain the information. I still read books to this day. Most of the books I read are about life lessons. Like, right now I'm Rick Ross' "Building an Empire." Reading it right now. Great book. Great book. Ten out of 10, I recommend it.
Who's your hero?
How cool is he?
Oh, he's cool. Super cool. Very energetic guy. Always got good vibes. He made me the man I am today. He taught me a lot about how work and resiliency. He's worked the same job from when he was 18 to 58. Same job. And I watched him come up in the ranks. Well, obviously, he was working there before I was born, but it's just amazing to see how he came up in the ranks. He was a heavy equipment worker for the city of Virginia Beach, and he just worked his way up to the point where he was kind of the boss. Just seeing how resilient he was, how loyal he was. He always taught me about about resilience, loyalty, things of that nature. That's my role model. That's who I look up to.
Do you ever get to use the heavy equipment?
You don't know how to use a backhoe?
I've been to his job, but I haven't ever seen this man work ever. I've never seen it. Because he would leave at 4 in the morning, and I was not up. He worked some work some long shifts.
Are you a morning or night person?
Night person. I don't even like sleep. I do it because I have to, obviously for athletic reasons, but I don't like sleep. When I'm done playing football, I'm not going to sleep.
What do you not like about sleep? I love sleep, so please explain this to me.
I feel like when you're asleep, you're missing out on stuff. Something's going to happen. Even in the wee hours of the morning. I was that kid, growing up, when it's nap time, I used to cry. I didn't like nap time. Obviously, when you're in college, you get tired, you've got to take naps. Your body just crashes out. But I'm not a fan of sleep. I like to stay up all night.
Do you have a nickname?
Some people call me Tee. T-Raaw. That's my Instagram name, my Twitter name. My dad calls me that.
But I like your name. I like your actual name.
Teradja? People butcher my name all the time.
Is there a story behind your name?
My aunt named me Teradja. Me personally? I think — I've never really asked — from looking at it, my grandfather's name is Elijah, my dad's name is Terry. So I think they combined Terry and Elijah, which made it Teradja.
Why did your aunt get to pick it? Is she very, very close to your family?
Oh, yeah. I'm from a very close family. Very big family. Like big family. I have a lot of siblings, lot of aunts and uncles, lots of nephews and nieces. So I have a big family and we're all close.
How many siblings do you have?
Whoa. Where do you fit?
I'm near the bottom, middle kind of area. I think I'm ninth. Ninth. I believe I'm ninth. It's hard to count. It's a lot. I think I'm ninth, though.