Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the recruit: Mario Nixon

Name: Mario Nixon
Position: WR/DB
Hometown: Norfolk
School: Norfolk Christian
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 215

24/7: 83; three stars; #132 WR; VA #25
ESPN: 75; three stars; #55 TE; VA #30; #150 Atlantic Region
Rivals: 5.6; three stars; #97 WR; VA #17
Scout: three stars; #94 WR

Other offers: Virginia Tech, NC State, Vanderbilt, Navy

This is why people follow recruiting.  It's like a little soap opera sometimes, only, one that's testosteronically acceptable.  Nixon committed to Virginia Tech in May, not long after two of his teammates (Wil Wahee and Kwontie Moore) committed to UVA.  My theory at the time, which I still think was reasonable, was that Nixon knew ahead of time his buddies were likely to go to UVA; he wanted to play with them, but once they made their commitments and he knew for sure they would go to UVA, and still he preferred VT, that's when he decided to take his plunge as well.

His teammates were having none of this, though.  Courtnye Wynn committed to UVA later in the summer, and Nixon's three teammates put on the full-court press.  Nixon even showed up at one of UVA's fall camp practices, which really set the rumor mill on fire.  Not long after that, he flipped his commitment, causing Hokie fans to either to claim they didn't need him, or had pulled his offer (as was purportedly also the case with Dominique Terrell, you know, whatever), or snark about broken promises (this latter of which conveniently forgets about Darius Redman.)

So that was fun, stealing recruits from Tech and all.  With Nixon on board, UVA ended up with the Norfolk Christian grand slam.  Kwontie Moore is the star; Nixon and Wynn come in a little behind.  In Nixon's case, the recruiting services are astoundingly in agreement.  Three stars each, a very similar rating, and all drop him into about the same ranking slot for both his position and his state.  This isn't usually coincidence, so Nixon's potential is pretty well-established.

Nixon is one of a number of recruits in the class who comes in as an athlete-type without a set position; at his height, he's an unlikely cornerback, so wide receiver or safety are the likely landing spots.  ESPN seems to think he can develop into a tight end, which is a natural thing to think about a guy who's already 6'4-6'5" and at least 210 pounds.  Myself, I'm not sure about this; in my rather amateurish opinion, I don't see Nixon adding the necessary poundage for tight end.  He's too tall and not really athletic enough for that height for cornerback, and ESPN's evaluation implies he doesn't have the speed for safety.  So I think he'll end up as a possession receiver.  In this he has the chance to excel, particularly if ESPN is correct about route-running being a strength of his.  His height makes him a natural.

Nixon probably gets a redshirt year to - at the very least - sort out his position.  Wherever he ends up there's too much competition to say he's likely to stand out from the crowd enough to get any playing time as a freshman, though he's a possible candidate for coverage teams.  He's the tallest wide-receiver-type in this class, though, and of the current receivers, only Matt Snyder and Bobby Smith are taller.  So Nixon, assuming he's a WR, will stand out from the crowd a bit.  Nixon could be a more-athletic Snyder; obviously he needs just a world of polishing and practice before he's at that level, but I think you have to love the idea of Nixon as a guy with potential to move the chains and make catches over the middle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see him as Fontel Mines-ish, a collegiate possession receiver that might have to move to another position to get a next level shot (but that's looking too far in the future). I imagine he'll get a redshirt year because Tim Smith and Jennings/Terrell all have multiple years of eligibility left. He could compete with Severin as a bigger target in 2013 (assuming Severin stays at WR).