2009 Intro: Xavier Nixon

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. --- In its seven-year existence, Jack Britt High School has sent more than its share of players to the Division I-A ranks. However, the most heralded recruit to emerge from the school might end up being 2009 prospect Xavier Nixon.

"I'll be honest, he's the best player that I've coached since I've been here," said Richard Bailey, who has been Britt's head football coach since its inception. "… He's the best one we've had."

The list of Division I-A players Bailey has coached at Britt include Aaron Kirkland (Tennessee), Jeff Bush (Marshall), George Bell (Virginia Tech), Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest), Alex Frye (Wake Forest), and Wesley Flagg (North Carolina).

Although the Evaluation Period is nearly two months away, Nixon has already collected 28 scholarship offers.

"All the in-state schools [and] every school this side of the Mississippi [River] has offered," Bailey said. "Schools west of the Mississippi have also offered like Colorado."

However, Nixon, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound offensive lineman, isn't fazed.

"Mostly, I think about staying focused on school and enjoying my last two years of high school," Nixon said. "If I get hurt and I can't play football anymore, all I have is my academics and I really have to push to do well in that."

With so many options and so much time, a verbal commitment is the farthest thing from his mind.

"I'm not really thinking about when I want to decide," Nixon said. "I'm just cruising right now [and] looking at everybody. I like everybody right now."

By the end of the summer, though, Nixon plans to narrow his list of schools under consideration to five.

"It's going to be – when I decide what major I want – does the college offer it? How successful will I be after I graduate in that major? Playing time, and the liability of the coaches – how long are they going to stay there? How long are they going to be there?" Nixon said.

Until the point of elimination, Nixon will be taking plenty of unofficial visits. He has already visited Clemson, UNC, NC State, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech. This Saturday he'll return to Chapel Hill for UNC's Junior Day.

Over the summer, Nixon plans to continue with his unofficial visits, but isn't sure if he'll participate in any camps.

Nixon's combination of size and mobility make him such a coveted recruit.

"He's a very athletic big guy," Bailey said. "And the thing that separates him from other people is just that. He's an athletic big guy. He's not a big plodder that can't move. He runs well. He's probably not a great forty-yard dash guy, but he can go five yards quicker than anybody.

"He does really well using his hands. He has long arms. He's 6-6, but he probably plays taller than that. He wears a size 18, so he has humongous hands."

In the classroom Nixon maintains a very high grade point-average while taking honors courses. His intelligence carries over to the gridiron.

"On top of having a good school IQ he has a great football IQ," Bailey said. "He knows what the running backs are supposed to be doing. He just has a natural gift of knowing what's supposed to be going on all over the field."

Heading into last summer, Nixon was already high on college coaching staffs' watch lists. However, his recruiting stock skyrocketed after a solid summer and junior campaign.

"He just really got commitment to football," Bailey said. "He was a basketball guy. He loved basketball and he still loves basketball. If you ask him what his favorite sport is right now he'll say basketball.

"But I sat down with his parents last year about this time of year and basically laid it down for his parents…. Xavier is a 6-6 center – they're a dime a million. He's not going anywhere big as a basketball player… I laid out empirical data and said this is the size of offensive lineman in NFL. I said he's what they're looking for. I said guys his size get full scholarships and one day pay your house off."

The meeting of Nixon's brain trust yielded positive results.

"Since then he's been a football drunk guy," Bailey said. "He has really committed to football."

Nixon's progression didn't go unnoticed by college coaches.

"Coach [Sam] Pittman [at UNC] told me [my maturation] was the most development that he's seen from any player from a sophomore season to a junior season," Nixon. "That made me feel really good."

According to Nixon, he speaks to either Pittman or Tommy Thigpen [at UNC] once or twice a week.

"[They discuss] mostly education and North Carolina and getting an offensive lineman like me is their No. 1 priority," Nixon said.

"They told me there's definitely a chance I could come in and play early - it depends on how I am when I get there. They said I'll probably start out at right tackle, because they'll have a left tackle coming back who'll be a senior. And then they'll move me over to the left side as soon as he graduates."

During his junior season, Nixon started at right tackle. For his final high school season, Bailey said he is strongly considering moving Nixon to left tackle, the position he's primarily being recruited for.

Xavier Nixon Profile


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