Jack Britt (Fayetteville, N.C.) head coach Richard Bailey is no stranger to coaching top high school talents. But Bailey, who has coached Wake Forest standouts Patrick and Brandon Ghee and former Virginia Tech running back George Bell, may have his best prospect yet in 6-6, 280-pound junior offensive tackle Xavier Nixon.
Coach Bailey tabulated the big-time lineman's Division 1A offers the other day, and the total came to 34. Coaches from all conferences have come to Fayetteville to recruit Nixon, who started out his high school career envisioning a college basketball career.
"Honestly, he was a basketball guy when he first started high school," Bailey said of Nixon, who had "15 to 20" scholarship offers by the end of his junior season. "His first love is basketball, but he started to focus on football after I sat down with he and his parents after his sophomore year. I told them that 6-6 centers in basketball are a dime a dozen, but being a 6-6 offensive tackle will pay for college. He really dedicated himself to get stronger after that."
Nixon has the size and athleticism college coaches love in an offensive tackle, but he also is intelligent on and off the field.
"He is a smart football player and he is smart in the classroom," Bailey said. "He is taking three honors classes this semester. He wants to go to college and graduate. His parents are in the military, so he is disciplined. He is one of the ones that is fun to promote. I know he is going to be successful."
Nixon and his family have moved around quite a bit, from South Carolina to Virginia and finally to North Carolina, and location does not figure to be a big factor in this decision.
"I have told the in-state schools not to rely on him being an in-state guy," Bailey said. "Xavier's parents may retire from the military soon and I think they are planning to move wherever Xavier decides to play college football."
With so many offers in the fold, Nixon first would like to narrow his list to a manageable number.
"We're hoping that he narrows his list by the end of spring, in April or May," Bailey said. "He is taking a trip starting next Thursday and he'll check out some schools. He is going to Tennessee, Ohio State, Pitt and West Virginia. He has already been to some schools. He went to Clemson's camp last summer. He has been to Notre Dame. He has been to N.C. State and UNC. He is going to watch South Carolina soon. He went to one of Virginia Tech's prospect camps last summer.
"By the end of the school year, he will try to get it down to 10 schools. To be honest with you, he is wide open right now. He truly does not have a favorite."
Both state of Virginia 1A programs have offered. As stated above, Nixon attended Virginia Tech's camp last summer, an experience Coach Bailey says "went well. They really liked him." Virginia is being considered as well, but no visit has been planned to Charlottesville.
"Virginia and Virginia Tech have offered," Bailey said. "In fact, Xavier was on the phone with Coach Groh about a week ago. Coach Beamer came here personally during the winter. Coach Wiles has been after him hard."
Do not sleep on standout athlete Everett Proctor, a junior who currently boasts three Division 1A scholarship offers. As the starting signal caller this past season, Proctor rushed for 1,105 yards and passed for 754 more, totaling 18 touchdowns (including 13 rushing).
"Everett Proctor is a quarterback/athlete," Bailey said. "He has three offers so far - Maryland, East Carolina and N.C. State. Virginia Tech is also recruiting him. He is an elite athlete. He is my quarterback and we run the spread option, but he probably will play another position in college. He is 6-2, 190 pounds. He runs a 4.4 in the 40. He has a 36-inch vertical. He was region player of the year last season. He led our conference in scoring. He can do anything. He is one who will probably pick up a bunch of offers at camps. I think a lot of schools will work him out at defensive back and offer him from that. He is the best athlete I've ever coached.
"He hasn't been to a lot of camps, but he is going to go with me on the tour with Xavier. His senior film is just getting out now. As a lot of colleges see him, they will see a kid that can play."
Proctor and Nixon helped Jack Britt to a 10-3 season and a conference championship in 2007.