He doesn’t lack for confidence, but Mitchell Quinn also doesn’t lack for diligence.
Working. Working. Working. The Saint Louis senior is always grinding, always getting that edge. The payoff has been substantial. His eight-catch, 307-yard performance on Friday in a comeback win over Mililani is the latest explosion by the former reserve wide receiver.
During the game, he received a scholarship offer from Hawaii. The win, the offer, those capped a memorable week. A few days before the game, the Polynesian Bowl extended an invitation to the 5-foot-11, 150-pound senior.
He was featured in Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which you can read here.
Quinn, with 967 receiving yards and 15 TDs on just 36 catches, is the classic overnight sensation who has been years in the making.
“He deserves it. He works hard. I think he’s going to be heavily recruited because he’s smart, and he makes plays when there’s coverage,” Saint Louis offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. “He goes over the top and comes down with the ball. I would not be surprised if he gets a 10.6, 10.7 (in the 100-meter dash) when he runs track and he’s working out with Jack (Cambra). He’s humble, but he’s got the confidence. He doesn’t strut it around.”
His non-football resume is a mind-blower, as well.
Soccer: State Championships all-tournament team (Division II) last winter.
Track and field: At the state championships last spring, he competed in three events: 100-meter dash, 10.99; 200, 22.73, and triple jump. He won the triple jump at the Ruby Tuesday meet.
In 2006, he ran a 38.1 in the 200 and 9.5 in the 50 meters.
In ’09, he won a silver medal at the National Junior Olympics (50 dash and broad jump combined event).
Quinn chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Sunday.
Saint Louis football, soccer, track and field
Q&A / Favorites
Athlete: Stefon Diggs (Minnesota Vikings)
> He’s my favorite wide receiver in the National Football League. He’s kind of underrated. The league has a lot of great receivers like Odell (Beckham Jr.) and Julio (Jones), but I feel Stefan Diggs deserves more credit.
Team: New England Patriots.
> My whole family is Patriot fans. Just the way that Bill Belichick trains players. He sees players’ potential and makes them great players.
Food (at home): Spaghetti.
> My mom (Julie Quinn) makes it. It’s my go-to meal. I can never get tired of it. With garlic bread.
Food (eating out): Teriyaki Steak.
> Honestly, anywhere. Any steak. Medium rare. My dad (Donald Quinn) makes it sometimes.
Hobby outside of sports: Playing video games.
> 1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. I think that’s from 2009 maybe. 2. NBA2K. I just beat anyone in any year. The new one has a different My Career tat lets you roam around. 3. Probably Madden.
> I”m quite busy. I don’t really get a break, so there’s not really time to beat people.
> My favorite scene is probably when Fogell gets his fake ID.
TV show: Shameless.
> I feel like it has no filter. They just do whatever they want. Even though Frank is predictable, and the things he does are dumb, they’re funny.
Music artist: Bryson Tiller.
> He sings R&B, hip-hop. My favorite one is “Stay Blessed.” Prior to games, there’s awhile before we play and I’ve got to relax myself. I get really nervous. Then right before I get on the field, I hype myself up.
Teacher (elementary through high school): Mrs. (Lorna) Gomes, second and fourth grade, Lanikai Elementary.
> She was fun. She knew when to be serious, but most of the time, it was a fun class to be in.
> If I didn’t play any sports, I would have better grades. I try to do my homework during school. Especially over the weekend, I don’t want to do homework. Or I’ll do it during down time. When I get home, it’s 7:30, I have to eat, and I have some time to do my homework.
> Algebra I. I took it freshman year. It’s the only class I didn’t have trouble with. Math isn’t hard for me, but I handled Algebra with ease.
Place to relax: JC 50’s 50 Barbell Gym.
> There’s a gym in Hawaii Kai that I’ve been going to recently, since the beginning of football season. A lot of the O-line boys and a couple from other positions go there. It’s not really a relaxing place, but I enjoy myself there. I have no stress there when I’m working out, and it’s fun to be there with the boys. I have no worries there.
Motto/scripture: Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing — Henry Sanders, coach for the UCLA Bruins.
> It was before Vince Lombardi said it. Everybody thinks Vince Lombardi said it, but (Sanders) said it first.
> Winning really is the only thing, not just winning, but success. I feel like if you’re not trying your best and giving 100-percent effort, you’re slacking.
What your dad (Donald) says that you can’t forget: “I can’t wait for tomorrow, because I get better looking every day.”
> He’s funny and he says it. We all think it’s funny, but deep inside he probably thinks that true, and we just let him think that.
What your coaches say that you can’t forget: “Protect the ball.”
> Coach Ron (Lee), he talks about it all the time. We can’t risk losing the ball, keeping possession of the ball. Just get the first down and protect. We were talking about it before the Mililani game. There’s only so many turnovers, and we can’t afford to lose the ball.
What stands out about the 2017 season for you?
> Being able to come back from adversity and make big plays both offensively and defensively to be undefeated.
> I remember we were down two possessions in the Narbonne game. That was the first time we were down at halftime and it really put things in perspective that we’re not indestructible, that we could be defeated. But at halftime, we can regroup and talk about things, sit down together and we can talk. Especially from last year, we had a pretty talented team with Tua (Tagovailoa), and people didn’t think we could do it. There’s always doubters, no matter what.
How do football and track affect your daily life during the season and offseason?
> I stopped track maybe in middle school. I don’t have any idea why. I think I stopped in eighth grade because I had football. I was going to Saint Louis and starting in June I didn’t have enough time to run track for a club. I told myself I would do it in spring for school.
Which sports will you do in college?
> I don’t think I’ll do collegiate soccer, but most definitely I’ll go to a school where they do track. I love football and track. My mom ran track. She set a record for her school as a freshman when it was still yards instead of meters. She’s had the record since forever. It’s a school in California.
What middle and elementary schools did you attend?
> Lanikai Elementary and Kailua Intermediate.
If you hadn’t attended Saint Louis, you would’ve gone to Kailua?
> I would’ve went to Kalaheo. I have friends there.
Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond?
> I think most definitely small fish in a big pond because you can always grow.
What youth clubs did you play or run for?
> I played for Le Jardin Chesea for soccer and Renegades and Menehune Track Club.
What do you like to do — or what’s something else you’re good at — that would surprise most people?
> I can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under a minute.
Are you lying?
> No. I did it probably a week ago.
When’s the first time you solved it?
> My freshman year. I was in a robotics class and they had to program something to solve the Rubik’s Cube, and so I’m that type of person, small thing like that, I can spin a basketball on my finger for a long time, switch hands. I have a speed cube that slides better and faster. I don’t think I’ve done it under a minute with the Rubik’s Cube, but definitely with the speed cube.
Does it take a certain type of brain to do the cube? Is it a spatial thing, like geometry?
> It’s an algorithm. I have a really good memory. A lot of people could do it, but I don’t feel like most people don’t have the will. They don’t want to know it that much, go that extra step to do it.
Who on the team, including coaches, could possibly beat you in a race on Rubik’s Cube?
> Matt Watkins (No. 37), our kickoff kicker. We used to do it all the time. He was in robotics class and we used to race. He could beat me. I’m not saying he can, but he could.
Is there anybody who is faster than you at both a foot race and Rubik’s Cube?
> The only person that beat me in a race was Roman Wilson, and that was in track.
What is your ultimate dream/destination bucket list? Sky dive and go to Brazil.
> You have to be 18 to do it, I think. My parents let my brother (Christopher) do it. He went with a family friend of ours.
> Brazil — I just think it’s something, similar to Hawaii but agriculture is different. I’d rather just hang out in the cities.
What is the history and background of your name?
> I’m African-American and Caucasian. Both of my parents are from the mainland and I’m raised in Hawaii. I think they came to an agreement about my first name. They didn’t know what to name me. They were going to use my great-grandfather’s name, Donald Richard. My dad’s mother’s father. They used my great-grandmother maiden name, which was Mitchell.
Which do you prefer: Money Mitch or Chicken Skin Quinn?
> Definitely Money Mitch. It’s kind of a common nickname if your name is Mitch. I didn’t really give it to myself. When people said they heard Chicken Skin Quinn, they said it’s weird, it’s corny. I like Money Mitch better.