Panther Profile: Lucas Nix

With the conclusion of spring practice the Pantherdigest will be profiling the members of the class of 2008 that will land in Oakland this year. You will read several interesting stories about the future Panthers including Thomas Jefferson All-American offensive tackle Lucas Nix.

Athletes often refer to themselves as artists.

Future Pittsburgh Panthers offensive lineman Lucas Nix takes it a step further.

In many ways, the Thomas Jefferson product and younger brother of Pitt linebacker Nate Nix comes across as a working man's football player.

Lucas Nix gives short, sometimes vague answers to questions. He often speaks of playing with intensity and demanding "100 percent" from his teammates and himself.

He even has some habits typical of growing up in the Mon Valley, such as dipping Copenhagen and listening to WDVE.

However, if you are planning on venturing to the athletic offices of Thomas Jefferson High School anytime soon, you'll probably see some of Lucas' artwork hanging on the walls.

"Probably my most recognizable work was a mixed media project," he says. "There's a big portrait of a lady with glasses on and a portrait of Pittsburgh in the reflection of her glasses."

The unnamed picture is one of three that hangs in the Jaguars' office.

"I filled up my electives with art," said Lucas, who is undecided between studying architecture or business at Pitt.

The Oakland campus, with its proximity to art museums and galleries, would seem to be the perfect hangout for Lucas, but somehow he doesn't fit into the mold of a highbrow artist.

"When I'm on the field I'm not taking it easy on anyone, in practice or in games," Lucas said. "I would get on teammates if they weren't giving 100 percent."

"He was full speed all the time," said Thomas Jefferson head coach Bill Cherpak, himself an offensive lineman for Pitt from 1985-89. "If you're not full speed he'll hit you in the face.

"He started as a freshman for us and just got better and better," Cherpak continued. "He's got all the tools to be a great player."

Playing left tackle for Class AAA Pennsylvania state champion Thomas Jefferson, Cherpak says he did not allow a sack all season for the Jaguars.

He is currently on a weight program designed to weigh 280 pounds when he reports to Pitt. He currently stands 6-5 and weighs 293 pounds.

At Pitt, he will be reunited with his brother Nate, who Lucas said is being groomed to play weakside linebacker.

"I've been playing with Nate since I was six. It just seemed right to keep playing with him in college."

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