Mike Nixon on UCLA and Committing

The multi-talented player from Arizona, Mike Nixon, talks about why he's had UCLA as his leader and the possibility of committing on his official visit to Westwood January 11th...

Mike Nixon, 6-2, 200, Tucson (Ariz.) Sunnyside, said UCLA is his leader and there's a real chance he could commit on his official visit January 11th.

"Yeah, I could commit to them," Nixon said. "If everything goes well on the trip, I could definitely commit."

Nixon has already visited Arizona State, which he said was a good trip ("They seem to be getting the program in the right direction"). Besides UCLA, he has plans to visit Washington January 4th, Stanford January 18th and Notre Dame January 25th. Right now, the three schools that have offered him – Arizona State, Washington and UCLA – are the clear leaders over Stanford and Notre Dame. And among those three, Nixon said UCLA has an edge. "UCLA has been my favorite, so if I had to pick one right now, it'd be UCLA. But I'm really just thinking about all of them right now."

The fact that Stanford and Notre Dame have yet to offer could compel Nixon to end up committing before he'd take his Stanford and Notre Dame visits. "I could definitely commit before those last two visits. I liked the ASU trip. And if I see something I really like in the next two trips, I could commit. Since Stanford and Notre Dame haven't offered I could just feel that I wanted to commit and not take those trips." He said he'll spend some time during the Christmas break filling out his Stanford application.

Nixon is a multi-talented kind of guy, excelling at quarterback, safety, punter and kicker this season, which helped him be named the Gatorade Arizona Player of the Year. He threw for 2,636 yards, 34 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions as a quarterback, while also running for 310 yards. On defense, he had 35 solo tackles, 74 assisted tackles, one pick and three tackles for a oss. On 32 punts for the season he averaged 44.4 yards, and kicked a 52-yard field goal.

With such a variety of talent, Nixon said that the schools recruiting him are considering him for different roles. Arizona State and Notre Dame are recruiting him as a quarterback, Stanford as a defensive back and a punter, UCLA as a defensive back, and Washington is still undetermined. "I've talked with coaches on both sides of the ball at Washington. I think they want me as a DB, though." Nixon said he has no preference for position. "Whatever it takes to get on the field."

During Christmas break most prospects are getting a little time off, but not for Nixon, who also plays basketball and is considered a pretty good baseball prospect as a catcher. In fact, all of the programs recruiting him have indicated that he could play baseball in college if he wished.

But having played three sporst year-round his entire life, Nixon said he's never gotten in the weight room. "I'm at about 200.I was at about 205, but then I got sick, some viral infection during the season and I couldn't eat and lost 16 pounds. So, I'm still just getting that back." His brother, who is a linebacker at Cal, is currently about 6-2 and 215 or 220. "But if I compare myself to my brother, I've always been about an inch taller at the same age, and about 5 or 10 pounds heavier." So, does this mean, if he gets bigger, Nixon could project himself as a linebacker? "Sure. Once I start really lifting, I could easily get up to 215 or 220 and play the weakside linebacker position."

During Christmas, prospects are only allowed to receive one phone call a week from college programs, which have slowed down things in the Nixon household quite a bit, but it's still pretty hectic. "[Washington] Coach Neuheisel called me on Christmas Day. UCLA coach [Gary] Bernardi called me yesterday as did the Arizona State coach."

Nixon said that going away to school or staying close to home really isn't a factor for him, or his parents. "My parents have been fine with me going away. A while back we sat down and thought about which schools I'd like to attend. And when I came up with a few from out of state I think they knew I could leave." Do his parents have a preference? "No, not really. My mom likes Stanford's academics. But with my brother going to Cal, he's gotten us into the Cal/Stanford rivalry. So it might be hard for her to root for Stanford. But they'll leave it up to me." His parents will accompany him on his trip to UCLA. "My mom went there with me last spring, but I really want my dad to see it, and see the campus."

Nixon said that the fact that UCLA has been his leader for a while really only sprung from that same meeting with his family about potential colleges. "When we sat down about a year and a half ago, we looked at schools and UCLA really emerged then. It's only an hour flight, it's in Southern California, the program is always winning and it has great academics."

And obviously academics are pretty important to Nixon. He carries a 3.92 GPA and scored a 1230 on the SAT.


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