State Scouting Report: Shaun Nixon

If Shaun Nixon doesn't already rate as one of the state's top running backs in the Class of 2014, he's certainly among the most versatile.

Would every college coach love to have a running back who runs for 3,000 yards in a high school season? Absolutely. But Nixon's placement on a pass-first Lake Travis school could be more key toward his long-term development, and could help him see the field earlier at the next level. Nixon is way ahead of the curve on two traits that allow running backs to hit the ground running in college: pass protection and passing game production.

He achieves the latter through outstanding route running and whisper-soft hands. He excels at the former thanks to willingness, technique and a surprising toughness for his size.

It's his size and speed that makes Nixon (or any player halfway through their sophomore year) difficult to project. He has a nicely-filled body, and if he grows a few inches, it's not unreasonable to think he could play at the 205 to 210 mark. His speed could also use some work. He's probably a 4.6-type guy in the 40-yard dash right now, but as he continues to lift and work out, that should improve as well.

But he shows other signs that he could be a special back in the making. He runs with excellent power for his size, and the first player rarely brings him down. He also shows that burst that is even more important than overall speed, an ability to stick his foot in the ground and go.

Nixon's size and speed will determine what level recruit he winds up being. But he's already getting attention from some major schools, all of whom are probably excited about his potential as a three-down running back.

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