September 20, 2017 10:30:27 AM
STARKVILLE -- Comfort and style never weighed into the decision for Blake Mitchell; convenience was the driving factor.
Mitchell is a walk-on lineman in the Mississippi State football program and lives with fellow lineman Harrison Moon. At the time, Mitchell was taking his truck to school every day; Moon was riding a moped, effectively a small motorcycle often treated differently by traffic laws. Mitchell parked in the commuter parking lots like most other students while Moon got to use the motorcycle parking, much closer to class buildings.
That's when the decision was made.
"You can park right by any building. When we moved in together he was riding that and I was driving my truck every day," Mitchell said, "I decided I needed to get one, too.
"There are three lots that are almost in the drill field."
Since then, Mitchell has turned some heads on campus for his choice of transportation. He and Moon both love their mopeds and never look back: they live close to campus and don't have to take major roadways to get there, so they get all the convenience of the parking spot with none of the hassle during the commute.
"People just laugh," Mitchell said. "You see two 300-pound dudes ride up on stuff that's really not built for that, it looks funny. It's a great conversation starter."
As Mitchell put it: "Motorcycle parking is primetime and they're chick magnets."
Moon was more than happy to welcome someone else to the group: he was an active part of the discussions in convincing Mitchell's father to buy one on Craigslist for Mitchell to use.
"We're trying to get a little scooter gang going," Moon said. "We have visions for the future to get leather jackets or denim jackets."
Moon is the first to admit he is far from the gang's founder: he got the idea to get a moped from teammate Hunter Bradley. Moon calls Bradley the grandfather of the scooter gang, since Mitchell refers to Moon as the godfather.
Once Moon got his, he found riding partners in Bradley and former quarterback Nick Tiano. Tiano ultimately transferred to UT Chattanooga and sold the moped, leaving Moon to recruiting members like Mitchell; anything to end his days as a, "lone wolf."
Now the two park them next to each other just outside the Leo W. Seal Football Complex for practice. Mitchell's is a simple black model with little extra decorations; Moon lovingly describes his as, "fluorescent orange," with stickers of the state of Tennessee (his home state) and Mississippi on the right side.
The mopeds have become a hit both on campus and in the football program. Mitchell's only seats one, but Moon's has the ability to seat two: Moon has given Evans Wilkerson a ride on it, throwing a combined 605 pounds of offensive lineman on the small vehicle.
Mitchell jokes getting one that can carry two is his next purchase, or maybe just a sidecar for his current moped.
In the mean time, Mitchell gets back at Moon on their respective helmets. Mitchell said his helmet has the look of a biker helmet. His thoughts on Moon's helmet?
"Imagine what a girl would wear."
Moon was quick to jump to his defense. He admitted his helmet looked, "like a bowling ball that's been hollowed out," but he shows no shame.
"It's very round and covers everything," Moon said, "but mine's not the one that flies off when I'm going down the road."
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter, @Brett_Hudson
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