In baseball he hit .543 as a senior with four home runs 31 runs batted in and 31 stolen bases.
Nixon had signed with UCLA in February 2002 to play football and baseball, with the knowledge that there was a good chance he could be taken in the Amateur Draft. If taken early on he, like many others who play multiple sports would sign, but for the right price.
Then when the Los Angeles Dodgers offered a million signing bonus four months later, he gave up football to concentrate on becoming a catcher full time. Upon advice from his parents, the contract included a provision that the Dodgers would pay for his college tuition.
"That's never the scenario you envision, but my parents always prepared me to have what you want to do, and if that doesn't work out, thats what we'll do then," Nixon said. "That way there is no regrets. Baseball has a ton of those guys every year who wash out (in the minor leagues) and can't afford tuition."
After his four seasons in the minor leagues, Nixon decided to hang up his baseball cleats believing he was not progressing fast enough. It would seem to me that hitting AAA and being a click away from Dodger Stadium in four seasons should have been looked upon as a great accomplishment by Nixon.
Unfortunately for the Dodgers and Dodger fans alike, Nixon did not feel the same way. In perspective, James Loney was drafted in the first round before Nixon and made his MLB debut in 2006. Delwyn Young a player picked one round after Nixon, also made his debut in 2006. It seemed he was well on his way and should not have given up so easily.
Instead Mike Nixon took the Dodgers up on there offer and went back to school. By this time though he had been relieved of his offer to UCLA, and instead attended Arizona Stats to play football only.
He remembered the ASU coach recruiting him. A school were scholarship's are looked upon like every day currency, the second time around there was no need for a scholarship, which makes his current contribution to the team and school all the more important, since he remains a walk on. This way the school can still add an extra player with not worry of taking Nixon on.
When asked what was it like to play minor league baseball, and how did it prepare you to play football at ASU, Nixon replied ?
"It was fun. I am glad I did it, and I'm glad it's over with. It was kind of a grind, I enjoyed doing it, but unless you're making it to the big leagues, the professional baseball life in the minor leagues is not very glamorous at all. I got to the point where I didn't think making it to the Major Leagues was a strong possibility. It was kind of a long shot. It wasn't the life I wanted to be doing for another eight years to never make it in the Majors."
"In baseball, you show up early for everything," he said. "If batting practice was at 2:30, you were at the field by one. I take that same approach here. That's the biggest difference, being able to prioritize what's important right now. You see a lot of guys first time away from home who don't necessarily get that. They're more concerned about dorm life, then by their junior and senior years they're starting to mature. I was lucky to get a lot of that out of my system before I came here."
"I didn't want to be stuck in the minors for another five, eight years just scraping by," Nixon said. "Maybe I would have played two games in the big leagues, and that would have been great. But is 12 years really worth that?
"If I wouldn't have had football to go back to, I probably would have stuck it out at least another year. Football just made the transition so much easier where I was still able to compete, but I also was able to get my school done. I've had a great time doing it, and I'm kind of leaving my mark here."
Nixon will graduate in 2009 with a political science degree, that he hopes might lead him to Law School or in to Sports Management as a major when going for his Masters Degree.
All in all Nixon is a very smart, athletic, laid-back self-proclaimed snow boarding enthusiast who knows what he wants and isn't scared to go for it.
The mature, 25 year old senior began his ASU career in 2006 and has became one of the Pac-10's top defensive players. Tying for the conference lead in interceptions and finishing sixth in tackles, he appeared in all 38 games of his ASU career so far, making 19 starts.
If the past is in any way a compass to the future of were Mike Nixon is going, he should have a very clear picture of what his life is going look like.
Michael George Nixon 6-3 210 BR TR Born- August 17, 1983 in Phoenix, AZ year team ave obp ops gm ab r h 2b 3b hr bi sb 2002 GFalls .311 .355 .725 55 219 33 68 10 0 1 31 7 2003 SGeo .274 .334 .673 102 390 58 107 20 1 1 37 13 2004 Colm .261 .315 .693 90 333 49 87 20 2 5 50 6 2005 VBch .231 .351 .751 78 65 13 15 5 0 2 11 1 Jack .150 .227 .377 6 20 0 3 0 0 0 0 2 LVeg .226 .256 .578 46 124 12 28 6 0 2 17 0 --------------------------------------------------------------- Totals .268 .323 .678 322 1151 165 308 61 3 11 147 27