Mike Nixon - Tan, Rested and Ready

<b>Mike Nixon</b> is a 6-3, 195-pound athlete who attends Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Nixon is considered the consummate athlete in Arizona today, and with Rick Neuheisel's penchant for recruiting versatility, <b>Washington</b> has made a late charge for the young man's services.

"They weren't really recruiting me early on, but my coach sent out a highlight tape to a few schools and then I got a call from Coach (Steve) Axman soon after," Mike told Dawgman.com. "I set up my visit with them just a couple of weeks ago and Coach Neuheisel called me back to also let me know that I had an offer."

Why the Huskies weren't on Mike a little sooner comes as a bit of a mystery. All he did for Sunnyslope was guide them to an 11-1 record and tough 2-overtime loss to Greenway in the state quarterfinals. Along the way, Nixon threw for 2672 yards on 151-262 passing and 34 touchdowns. He threw only 3 interceptions the entire year. Those numbers earned Mike Gatorade Player of the Year honors, as well as State Player of the Year by the Arizona Republic. To prove his worth on both sides of the ball, Mike was also named first-team All-Arizona as a defensive back. He ran the 40 in 4.49 this summer at the Oregon Nike camp.

"I'd say when I'm running with the ball, I'm very aggressive, and also on defense," Mike said when asked to describe his style. "I think I've been able to play well on defense because I'm a quarterback. That allows me a lot of insight as to what the other quarterback is going to do. And being a 4-year starter, the game has slowed progressively down over the years and this year it was really slow for me. That helped a lot."

How are his leadership skills? "I'm a quiet guy that likes to lead by example," he said. "I don't yell at my guys. They already know if they screwed up a play. They don't need me yelling at them to make it worse. If anything, I'll try to give them a little pick-me-up, something that can rally them a little to make a big play."

When Mike talks about versatility as a player, he can't stop short of his work on the diamond. "I know that if I had told more coaches that I was interested in being drafted, I know it would happen for sure," he said when asked if baseball might be an option in his immidiate future. "I'd say the chances I'll be drafted are around 50/50, maybe a little better. But I plan to go to school. That's what I want to do right now."

Mike has 5 schools that he's focused his attention on - Arizona State, Washington, UCLA, Stanford and Notre Dame. But to listen to him, he'd like to focus on three for the time being. "Arizona State, Washington and UCLA are the schools that have offered me, so those are the ones I'm looking at the most," Mike said. Here are his thoughts on his top three.

Arizona State - "Well, they want me as a quarterback, so why wouldn't you want to play in that kind of a system? And of course it's close to home. It's only a 10-minute drive from my house. It would be fun to play in front of my friends and family."

Washington - "I hadn't heard from them until I sent out my tape, but I did get a chance to go to Jeff Johnson's house the other day and he spread out his jerseys from the four bowl games he went to and that was really impressive. I know they have good academics up there. My Mom worked up there from time to time, so I've seen the area and it's beautiful up there. I loved the city. I guess it would just be a question of whether or not I could handle the rain."

UCLA - "I'd say they've been my favorite from the beginning of the recruiting process. I love the campus there and really everything about the program they have."

Mike has already visited ASU and will be visiting Washington this weekend with his Mother. He'll then go to UCLA on the 11th, and has Stanford on the 18th and Notre Dame on the 25th as his fallback trips. "I'm going to wait and see on those last two trips," Mike said. "I need to see if they offer me. If not, I may be in a position to make a decision after my UCLA trip."

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