Nixon Ready to be a Gator

Tuesday marks the reporting day for most of the Florida Gators true freshmen signing class of 2009. One of the most eager to arrive is offensive tackle Xavier Nixon of Fayetteville (NC). He has worked himself busy in the offseason and finally away from basketball, he comes in at 6-6 and 290 pounds and physically ready to handle the rigors of the trenches of college football.

Xavier Nixon will be coming in to compete, but when pressed for anything he knew would happen, he wasn't ready to take that step. He is sure of himself, at the same time, he understands it will take more hard work to get himself to the level he needs to play for the Florida Gators.

"I just want to bond with my teammates and the coaching staff and getting into the flow of things," Nixon said about his Tuesday arrival. "I try not to have expectations, I just want to do everything I can."

It is a big step for most college freshmen. Leaving home, tougher classes, and when you add the very elite of football competition to the mix, it is very tough for the average player to handle. The number one rated offensive tackle in high school and just months removed from the Army All-American game, Nixon understands that football in Gainesville will be at a whole new level than what he was ever used to.

"I'm not worried about the college part because I feel like I am a responsible person (with school)," he said. "The biggest part for me will be adjusting to the speed of the game at the college level. I think the all-star game was like a stepping stone. The talent came from all over the country, but at the University of Florida it is the best talent in the country. That will be a huge step for me."

There have been no surprises yet for Nixon. Everything the coaching staff at Florida told him about his future home seems to be what he knew it would be. He understands exactly what they want too.

"Everything is pretty much like I thought it would be so far since I signed," he said. "The coaches expect greatness out of me like they do any other player. They want hard work from me on the field and in the classroom."

A son of two military parents, Nixon knows what it is like to have at least one of them away from home. His father has recently returned from a deployment over seas and mom has been at home for a while. Now, the family will get a taste for when young Nixon steps away from the safety of home. Xavier says even his tough Army Sergeant mom is showing a little emotion now that her "little" one is moving on

"My dad is now in Virginia and probably will be there until my mom has to go to school in Texas," Nixon said. "They already have hotels booked for all the games. She is the same as any mom. She is feeling the empty nest syndrome. I know she is going to miss me and I will miss her. She has let out a little softness."

With openings at both tackle spots from last year's record setting offense, Xavier Nixon has a chance to see the field really early in 2009. Whether that happens or not, he wants to share with Gator fans that he will be working for one goal and that is to make his new team better.

"They can expect for me to bring energy to the team whether that means starting as a true freshman or passing a water bottle to my teammates coming off the field," he said. " Expect me to just play hard and show emotion."

Nixon will be rooming with fellow freshmen defensive end Kedric Johnson, center Kyle Koehne, and offensive guard Jon Halapio.

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