Joe Mixon is no stranger to the spotlight. The Oakley (Calif.) Freedom four-star running back has 38 scholarship offers and is the No. 5-ranked running back in the 2014 class. That doesn't mean, though, that when an NFL All-Pro calls his game "off the hook," that he doesn't stand a little taller, as he did on Saturday when he spoke with former California running back and current Seattle Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch.
"It's crazy getting to talk to an NFL player, but I already knew him before, so it wasn't all that," Mixon laughed, before saying that having Lynch know him by name is "crazy."
Mixon was surrounded by a constellation of former Bears running backs on Saturday at Cal's spring game, including Lynch and former Detroit Lion Jahvid Best.
"I was up by Jahvid Best, in the stands," Mixon said. "I talked to him a little bit, but it wasn't a long conversation. It was short."
Lynch, though, was another matter. Mixon said that he'd met Lynch before at a camp near his high school, and has spoken with him in person about five times since then, hence seeing him on Saturday wasn't "all that." Mixon did regret not staying at the game long enough to see Lynch tote the rock for a 22-yard touchdown in a cameo appearance, owing to the fact that he had to leave for his junior prom.
While Mixon lamented not being to see all of that excitement, he laughingly said that he had plenty of fun that night at his high school.
It's one thing for Mixon to know that the program has produced elite running backs in the past, but getting to actually see and interact with them made that fact much more tangible.
"It was just exciting for them to come back and for me to see them and talk to them," Mixon said. "It was an honor for me to do that."
Before the spring game, Mixon said, he was "treated like a king," during the Bears' second Junior Day event, shadowing running backs coach Pierre Ingram throughout the day.
"Basically everything they did, I did. Most recruits don't do that, and basically, I was with the coaches the whole time, and while all the recruits were on a tour, I was with the players," Mixon said.
Mixon likened the experience to being a part of the actual team, which made a big impression.
"I was up there at the beginning, and through the first quarter of the game, and I was with the coaches and I went to the position meetings, watched film and we just all kicked it in the player lounge, then I got Cream with Adarius Pickett and we were just chilling, talking to Marshawn and his cousin," Mixon said.
The biggest plus for the visit was the fact that there was no pressure at all to make any decisions. It was just about making him feel comfortable.
"They made sure that I felt at home," Mixon said. "I mainly hung around Brendan Bigelow. He really wasn't talking about coming to Cal. He just said that he knew I'd been doing well, and he told me to do what's best for me. I really don't like when people are trying to pressure me all the time, so that was great."
Mixon said that he couldn't put a number on where the Bears stand, but he did offer a grade on the day: "I'd say an A+," Mixon laughed.
JUNIOR DAY: Joe Mixon
JUNIOR DAY: Connor Humphreys
JUNIOR DAY: Kolton Miller
JUNIOR DAY: Koa Farmer
JUNIOR DAY: Michael Lazarus
Junior Day Notebook
JUNIOR DAY: Washington Nets First Offer
JUNIOR DAY: Bobby Okereke
JUNIOR DAY: More from Mixon
JUNIOR DAY: Joe Mixon
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