James Nixon Commits to Connecticut

A year ago, Matt Shaughnessy broke UConn's heart. The heralded defensive end from Norwich made an oral commitment to Wisconsin, choosing the Big Ten school over the in-state option. On Monday, UConn officially got over it.

The Huskies received an oral commitment from speedy cornerback James Nixon of the Hyde Leadership School in Hamden. Hoping to keep more top-flight talent from venturing across state lines, UConn had coveted Nixon from the start of the recruiting process.

Nixon was pleased to commit to his state university.

"The comfort level there was crazy," Nixon said. "Not just with the players, but with the coaches --- everything. Overall, I was a lot more comfortable there than I thought I would be. I didn't think I would fit in that well."

Nixon made an official visit to Storrs over the weekend, then chose UConn over Maryland, which he had visited the weekend before. Rutgers and Virginia also had offered scholarships.

"It was a very tough decision," Nixon said. "It was very close."

Nixon (6-foot-0, 175 pounds) describes himself as a lockdown cornerback with "great speed and great hips." He has run the 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds and looks forward to pairing with Darius Butler, who will be a sophomore in the fall, to make a formidable duo on the corners for UConn.

"Darius, that's my boy up there," Nixon said. "I like his style. We're both physical players, though he's a little more physical than I am and I'm a little faster."

Nixon could be used as a kick returner, the way Butler was in 2005, but the star recruit himself isn't sure how well he would fare in that role.

"I only had the ball kicked to me one time," said Nixon, who helped Hyde go 12-0 last fall and win the Class S state championship for the second straight year. "I ran it back 84 yards. After that, nobody ever kicked it to me again."

The next big challenge for Nixon comes Saturday. That's when he takes the SAT again in hopes of improving his score enough to gain academic eligibility.

"I think I'm going to be all right," Nixon said.

UConn is counting on it.

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