Coach's comments on James Nixon

Backfilling players, especially players that go on to play college football, can be difficult to do. That is unless you have a player with the same last name and great physical ability who just needs to slide over positions. That seems to be the case this year for New Haven (Conn.) Hyde Leadership with James Nixon taking over for Lionel Nixon.

James Nixon is being touted to play cornerback by most college teams. He's a big, rangy corner who is also going to play some offense this year for New Haven (Conn.) Hyde Leadership. However, there will probably be a move to play another position on defense very soon for him.

"He's a defensive back and a running back for us," Coach John Acquavita said. "He's about 6-foot and about 178 to 180."

"I think that defensive back is probably where he will end up playing in college. I know that Rutgers is the only school mentioned that he could play offense. Everybody else is looking at him as kind of a big corner."

"He's kind of long and rangy so he plays bigger than 6-foot-0. He is a long-arm kid. Our corners, depending on the strength on the offensive set, will run man to man and the other half is running zone. James will run a little bit of both. More like 50-50."

The move may be a simple shift to fill a hole at free safety. A hole that was created by his brother graduating from high school last year. A move that he hasn't had a lot of time to work at due to injury before the season starts.

"We are flirting with the idea, due to his brother not being there anymore, to move to safety. We just can't find a young player to fill the spot even half as good. James has been out a couple of weeks due to a fractured pinky finger so he really hasn't played any pre-season."

"While we were looking for a safety we took a couple of them and moved them to safety. While they are not Jamie, they are still playing pretty well there. So I just asked James if he would like to try the free safety spot three days ago at camp."

The move to safety will most likely benefit the team and James who could better his statistics playing in the middle of the field. A spot that his coach says will be tougher for an opposing offense to isolate him and take him out of the game.

"If I am playing against us I am just going to run a decoy deep to just get him out of the play. It would eliminate his side of the field. Our free safety is either in zone or free all ball game long and now he is an ally player, a 4.3 (second 40 yard dash) guy in the ally, that is not afraid to come up and put a lick on the player."

"I told him he could end up with 10 interceptions and 50 tackles playing in the middle of the field as opposed to 2 interceptions and 15 tackles playing cornerback."

James brother, Lionel Nixon, will be in Lincoln as well this coming weekend. Not to take in a trip, but to play. His brother has made the traveling squad for Maine and will more than likely be playing in nickel and dime situations as a true freshman.

"His brother, who he is going to see play Saturday, just made the travel squad as a true freshman. He played safety for us last year and is on full scholarship up to Maine. Now he is going to play corner in the nickel set."

"How many recruits get to go see their brother play against the team that they are being looked at by? It's actually a great story to be honest with you. He has another brother who is a wide receiver at Connecticut. He is a two year starter. James is the next in line."

While schools seem to be keen on getting James to play cornerback in college, his coach is convinced that a move to safety won't hurt his chances to play college football. He also went on to say that Nebraska hasn't officially offered him, but an offer could come anyday now.

"The change in positions is not going to hurt him recruiting wise because he already has a ton of offers. Nebraska hasn't officially offered him, but has him at the top at the chart. They want to keep him interested and they might be scared about a kid having to go that far. Is a kid going to leave Connecticut to go that far?"

"You have a chance to visit a school that is a little down but is on their way to coming back up. They are rich in football tradition. They had 65,000 fans at their spring game. They broke their own NCAA record from the year before. So I told them both to go ut there, take a peek at a real football maddening university and then gauge at the end of the season with your other official visits."

The potential for James is endless. While it is assumed that James will star for his team on defense he could easily be a very great good running back for them as well. He won't get the shot to play both ways all of the time, but he will get a couple of good looks.

"James could easily as a running back if he were an every down back, although he won't play every down at running back but he will on defense, get a dozen carries a game and average over a hundred yards per game. So he could have a very nice season offensively and a great season defensively."

Coach Acquavita is convinced that this is the tip of the iceberg for James. He is anticipating that James will become a very, very popular player in the coming months. "Remember I said this, by the end of October James will be on the map on everybody's board. He is going to explode onto everyone's board"

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