Defensive back is the top need position for the Red Raiders in the class of 2017, and the staff is searching the JUCO ranks as well as the high school ranks for prospects to help address this need as the 2017 recruiting cycle progresses.
Arizona Western Keisean Nixon is one JUCO prospect the coaches have identified who could immediately contribute to the secondary. At 6-foot, 200 pounds with a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, Nixon has the perfect blend of size and speed to compete as a corner in the Big 12.
Nixon shared his journey from Los Angeles to Arizona Western.
"I went to Bishop Salesian High School, it's a private school in L.A. I didn't qualify so I had to go JUCO. I had offers from almost every junior college in the country, I decided to go to Arizona Western because they were good and they were close to home. It worked out for me, I started as a true freshman and I balled."
Relationships are everything in college football recruiting, and two Power Five assistants have made the most inroads with the talented prospect.
"Coach DeShaun Foster and coach (John) Lovett, the DB coach at Cal, I talk to them the most out of any coach. Him and coach Foster, I think I have the best relationship with those two coaches, that's for sure."
Texas Tech is hot on the trail of the JUCO corner, with running backs coach and former NFL star DeShaun Foster spearheading the recruiting effort.
"I talk to coach Foster like every day. We talk about the recruiting process with Texas Tech, how the coaches will get back to me. I'm hoping for an offer from them real soon."
Nixon has a close bond with the Tech assistant, who has deep ties to California.
"Our high school was really well known for football. My high school coach, coach Foster hit him up about me, then he hit me up, and we've been talking ever since then. He's my guy. I wouldn't mind playing for coach Foster at all."
Although the spring evaluation period has kicked off in earnest, the coaches have not yet stopped by to visit the prospect in person. Nixon expects the coaches to visit soon, though.
"They didn't make it out here to Arizona. Coach Foster is going to come see me out in California some time in May. Probably May 16th to May 20th, somewhere in there."
Nixon, who will have three years to play two after graduating in December, has started taking a serious interest in Texas Tech. He lists early playing time as one of the biggest factors in where he will play at the next level, and recognizes that Texas Tech certainly has plenty of that to offer.
"I never really knew much about Texas Tech, the only time I really saw them was when they had Crabtree, but since I've been talking to Coach Foster, I've really been looking into them and I think it could be a good fit for me as far as coming in and playing right away. If Texas Tech offers, they're going to be one of my top schools. They're in my top three already and I haven't even dropped anything."
Being a December grad, Nixon is operating on a shorter timeline than most 2017 prospects. He plans on taking all five official visits.
"I think I'm gonna commit in September or November, sometime in between there."
While he has obviously had a lot to focus on since graduating high school, Nixon still has ties to Bishop Salesian and could end up being a package deal with an up-and-comer from there.
"My high school, we've got one of the best corners in the country, Deommodore Lenoir. I don't really know, but wherever he goes, since he's a class of 2017 [prospect] too, I'd like to go to school so we could play together."
Nixon confirmed Foster has been in contact with Lenoir.
The talented prospect holds offers currently from San Diego State, Kansas State, Iowa State, Cal, and Colorado State, among others.
"A lot of schools couldn't make it down here to Arizona, but I think the offers will start rolling in."
If the offers do start rolling in for Nixon, Tech will be duking it out with some big-time programs. The JUCO corner reports interest from Auburn, South Carolina, UCLA, Texas, Florida, Mississippi State, and Nebraska, among others.