Five-Star OT Nixon May Be Done With Visits

Xavier Nixon

How much better can the No. 1 offensive tackle in America get? Well, according to Xavier Nixon's Head Coach Richard Bailey he has improved in a number of areas since his ranking came out a while ago. Bailey also says that Nixon may be out of time for official visits other than the one he already took to Florida and four teams stand out for the big time offensive lineman.

At Fayetteville (NC) Jack Britt HS Nixon is an all around athlete starring on the football and basketball teams. Jack Britt is trying to defend a state title, is ranked No. 1 in it's classification, and is in the middle of the state playoffs. Coach Bailey says Nixon and his teammates are all business right now during the playoffs.

"We are through with the first round but are the number one seed," Bailey said. "We have a nice target on our back and a lot of pressure. We are playing Garner and have played them two of the last three years in the playoff."

According to Bailey, Nixon has gotten much better in his senior season despite being Scout.com's No. 1 rated offensive tackle. As a matter of fact, Bailey has decided to use Nixon's football ability on both sides of the line in his senior season.

"I think he has gotten a lot better in his pass protection," Bailey said. "He has gotten a little stronger, so he is more dominating in his run blocking as well. I think more of his mechanical things...his footwork, zone steps, the little things that he needs to be a great tackle at the next level, he has gotten better. He has gotten smarter in his understanding of the game. He's a really intelligent football player and has improved on that.

"He's a very good defensive player as well. He started there in the middle of the year and is going full time both ways now. In our conference play and the playoffs he is a starter on both sides. He weighs about 275 pounds right now and moves well. He is quick on the football field and plays fast."

Because of his team and his personal success and ability on the football field, Nixon may very well be done taking official visits. Nixon took his only official visit so far to the University of Florida to see them beat one of his other teams of interest, Miami. The Gators may get the privilege of being his only host for an official visit this year.

"Because of the playoffs, if we play till the state championship game, that is until the 14th of December," Bailey started. "That will carry on until the Shrine Bowl the following week. He is dead set at announcing at the Army game. The reason is the military is willing to pay for his father to come home early from Iraq. They are willing to make that happen because it is such a big PR situation for them. He wants to do it then because otherwise he wont see his dad until April. He gets to see his dad for a full week when he wouldn't be able to do otherwise."

Although it looks like the Gators get the upper hand with the official visit situation, Bailey says that it will not likely affect Niixon's decision between his four top schools of interest.

"He's been to LSU unofficially, he saw LSU play Florida (at Florida)," Bailey said of Nixon. "He's been to Carolina umpteen times. He's been to Florida twice. He hasn't been to Miami but has been in contact with their coaches on a regular basis. He got to see Miami play Florida at Florida. He's been to every stadium and seen all the academic things, except for Miami. I wouldn't read anything into that saying it eliminates Miami. He has talked to all the coaches and told them he isn't doing any interviews or doing anything until he is done with football."

As the process is starting to wind down for Nixon, Bailey sees four teams standing out for the prototype tackle, while two others have a little bit of chance.

"North Carolina has always been there and he has stayed in contact with all their coaches," Bailey said. "He hasn't made an official final list, I am basically guesstimating on the final four. I think if he had to narrow it down it would be LSU, Miami, Florida, Carolina, and maybe Notre Dame or Clemson. That is my impression."

With that in mind, we asked Bailey to talk about Nixon's impressions of the four schools he feels lead for the nation's top offensive tackle.

LSU: "The success they have had. He really likes the offensive line coach there. The atmosphere at the school. It's a football maven. He liked the campus. They may not have the highest test scores, but their academic facilities were incredible and his mom was very impressed with that. They are also in the SEC and everyone looks at that conference as the best conference in football."

North Carolina: "They have had a pretty good year and surprised some people. I think he sees them as a team on the rise. They have done a great job of recruiting the state this year and they have a great need at offensive line. That is something he wants, is to go somewhere he can play early. They may have had one offensive line commitment last year and only one this year."

Miami: "I think he likes the tradition there. He knows about the Miami of the 80's and 90's and thinks Coach Shannon is going to bring that back. I think he likes the swagger they play with and sees them as a team on the rise. They are coming back to the glory days and trying to get back there. (Offensive Line) Coach Stoutland at Miami has a pretty good relationship with Xavier and I think he talks to Coach Stoutland maybe more than most of the others."

The Gators have to like their standing with Nixon with everything going on and the way his recruitment has played out. He certainly has not tipped his hand in any direction verbally, but his actions certainly say he really likes the University of Florida.

"That is the only place he went for an official and then he went back for an unofficial," Bailey said of Nixon. "He came back and had such wonderful things to say about Florida from the Florida-Miami game.

"I have a bunch of football players here that have never been to a college football game at all. They had an opportunity to go back for the Florida-LSU game and he and his mother took about five of my players with them. That was a once in a life time opportunity and Xavier is that kind of kid. He definitely enjoyed his visit there, he loved the atmosphere.

"He has a lot of respect for Florida and Coach Meyer. They are going to be good and Xavier wants to be a part of a great program and Florida isn't going away any time soon. Tim Tebow isn't the type to leave early. Urban Meyer is a college coach and isn't leaving for the pros, and what college job is a step up from Florida? I don't think he is leaving any time soon. I think he likes the stability they are going to have. He also likes the atmosphere and the city and all the bells and whistles that go with being in a big time program in the SEC."

Coach Bailey then talked about the things that are going to influence Nixon's decision to pick one school over the other big time programs that are after him.

"The biggest thing for him is he wants to go to a school where they are going to win," Bailey said. "He wants to be a part of a winning, successful program. The second thing is his ability to play somewhat early. He wants to go where he feels like he can play early. Even though Florida has a lot of great linemen, they have a senior offensive tackle, backed up by another senior offensive tackle. Most of their commitments lately have been from inside people. The Pouncey twins are centers and guards and other people are guards, most of them have been inside players. He wants to go to a program that will win, go to bowl games, and play for national championships."

Nixon will also miss a lot of his second sport at Jack Britt. He is the starting center on the basketball team and a big time contributor. Coach Bailey believes he will miss about eight games in all, but his priority is to get himself ready for the sport that he is projected so highly at. He puts every ounce of energy he can in the sport and it has paid off to the tune of all the great programs wanting him o be a part of their program.

We will know in a little more than a month which program that will be.

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