Alabama coaches hit the road this spring and noticed a mammoth defensive tackle at Irondale (Ala.) Shades Valley High School.
Nearly a year later, that prospect is the top player in the state of Alabama among class of 2015 standouts, Daron Payne. But while on campus later on, the guy making a normally stout defense seem out of place was worthy of keeping up with as well.
Now, Keith Mixon is an SEC-prospect as well. Each rising senior ventured to Tuscaloosa on Saturday for Nick Saban's first junior day of the year.
"It went great," he said. "They look at me as a slot player and they watched my highlight film yesterday (Friday) and they said I moved up on the charts.
"They're looking at three slot players right now and that's me and two other dudes."
Despite a 5-foot-8, 168-pound frame, Mixon is one of the more dynamic athletes in the state as a runner, receiver and returner. He single-handedly kept the Mounties in their final game of the season, deep in the playoffs, against eventual Class 6A state champion Hoover (Ala.) High with a head-turning kick return for a score.
"It feel good to be on the charts," he said.
Mixon, who holds verbal offers from Vanderbilt, Cincinnati and South Alabama, spent the entire day with his good friend Payne. The Alabama staff was selling the teammates on possibly playing together at the next level, as well.
"It was just awesome," he said. "They showed us around and talked to us. And we ate and went to the field.
"They actually took us around campus by ourselves and not with the rest of them players."
Mixon plans to take the recruiting process slowly as his offer list grows. He has no current timetable for a commitment.
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