Xavier Nixon: 2009 Prospect

When you're looking for some of the top rising junior offensive linemen, one name that will continually pop up is Xavier Nixon from Jack Britt High School (Fayetteville, N.C.) Nixon is a big athletic tackle prospect that is already receiving interest from several top programs, including Notre Dame.

Notre Dame has done a great job of recruiting offensive linemen, but the Irish need to pull in several elite guys every year. Xavier Nixon (6-foot-5, 270 pounds) has the size and his head coach, Richard Bailey believes that he's going to be a big-time prospect.

"It's one thing to have a kid that is top-five in the state of North Carolina, but I think Xavier has the potential to be a top-five national recruit as far as an offensive lineman," Jack Britt head coach, Richard Bailey said of Xavier Nixon. "There aren't any real negatives about him. He's got long arms and he has great hand placement. We pull a lot, and he has an amazing ability of getting through traffic and blocking people in space. He has a good feel on that. He's a nice guy, but he's got that nasty streak in him. He finishes people and he picks up a lot of pancakes.

"He's really skinny at 270 pounds. He could easily be 315-320 pounds. He could carry that weight now. He has great lateral movement. He's a basketball player also, and sometimes it's hard for them to keep the weight on.

"The thing about it is that he's just starting to commit to football," Bailey said. "He's always been a basketball guy, but now he realizes that football is where he's going to get paid, as far as a college scholarship and potentially in the NFL."

Nixon already has a number of big-time programs looking at him, and the Irish are one of those schools.

"Notre Dame's interest in him is definitely high," Bailey said. "They came through in the spring. Generally when they come through in the spring they're recruiting rising seniors, but he's the type f player that's already getting interest. Clemson has basically already offered him. They can't make anything official until the first day of their junior year, but they've pretty much said, ‘yeah we want him.' North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia, and Notre Dame have been the same way. Nothing is in writing but they're all interested.

"Xavier had enough interest in Notre Dame to go up to their camp for three days. When he went up there he was really impressed. His dad was impressed. They were in awe of the facilities and just loved the atmosphere and the feel of the campus.

"Like any other kid, he wants to play in the NFL and Notre Dame has a pretty good reputation for sending offensive linemen to the NFL. Then you have coach Weis and coach Brown that has all the NFL connections, that's a big plus for them.

"Education is going to be important to him," coach Bailey said. "He's not the type of guy that's going to go play football somewhere if they don't offer him something academically. Xavier is a good student. He takes honors classes. He's a Notre Dame type of student. He's not a kid that will have difficulty qualifying. Both of his parents are military people, so he understands work ethic."

Nixon didn't know much about Notre Dame until he made his visit this summer, but he came away impressed with the university.

"The Notre Dame coaches came in the spring and said that I could develop into a good player," Xavier explained. "When I came up to the camp they said that I had a good demeanor and that I was disciplined and that I was the type of guy that they wanted at Notre Dame.

"The campus was laid back. There's a lot of history there. I thought I definitely could see myself going to Notre Dame, not only to play football, but also to get my education. I know they have great academics. It's a small school because they only take the best students. In case something doesn't go right with football I'd have my degree to fall back on."

Nixon enjoyed the Notre Dame campus, but the Irish coaching staff also made a big impression on him.

"Coach Latina was a real funny person," Nixon said. "He was not only a good coach, but he made the sessions fun. I talked to coach Brown and I met the defensive line coach, coach Oliver. I also had a chance to meet coach Weis. I liked the coaches. If I went to Notre Dame the coaches seem like they're part of a family. I could talk to them about anything.

"Distance is a big thing to me. If I'm comfortable at the university and I get the feeling that I can be there, then distance wouldn't matter to me."

Nixon cold be athletic enough to play on either side of the ball, but where he plays isn't a concern of his either.

"I played defensive line when I was on JV," Nixon said. "It's a possibility that I could be playing both ways this year, but it doesn't matter where I play as long as I get to hit people.

"I bring a presence on the offensive line. I try my best to open holes for my running backs and my quarterbacks. I won't every score any touchdowns, so I need to work hard so that I make them look good."

Nixon reported a 3.2 g.p.a.

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