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Texas A&M Signing Day Preview: Runningback Shaun Nixon

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As we inch closer to National Signing Day (aka, a far better use of a day off than that silly President’s Day nonsense) we turn our eyes to a position that does, in fact, exist on the Texas A&M roster: Running Back.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, under the direction of Running Backs Coach/Offensive Coordinator Clarence McKinney, the top 4 backs on the roster combined for 17 Stars, unlimited potential, and a whopping 279 carries, or a mere 76 carries less than Andre Williams’ season total at Boston College. How about that for fun facts! /Glances at LSU boxscore. *sobs*

Anyhow.

In spite of his, um, unique play calling qualities, McKinney carries the reputation of both a very solid running backs coach and an excellent recruiter.  Similar to their quarterback search, the A&M staff targeted some of the highest-ranked prospects in the country, offering Joe Mixon out of California and New Orleans stud Leonard Fournette, among others.  One of these early offers went to Varshaun Nixon, a 5’10", 185 pound all-purpose back out of Lake Travis in Austin.

Nixon committed to the Aggies in December of 2012, and proceeded to back his pledge up with a senior year performance that included over 1700 rushing yards, 24 touchdowns, and almost 7 yards per carry.  At the time of his commitment, he chose A&M over Clemson, Baylor, Nebraska, and Texas Tech. Shaun is a consensus four-star and ranked by 247Sports.com Composite as the 5th best All-Purpose Back in the country and the #22 player in Texas. There have been somewhat consistent rumors involving him looking around and Nixon is in fact visiting the TCU Horned Frogs this weekend. If Nixon does decide his future is in Fort Worth, the Aggies are likely done at this position regardless.

Best Case Scenario: Nixon has elite vision and balance, and has shown good hands in his limited opportunities catching the football.  A redshirt year is probably in order while the law firm of Williams, Williams, & Carson handles things next fall, but 18 months from now, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Shaun to appear as a 5’10", 205 pound back that most likely begins his career as a special teams ace, and quickly becomes the lightning to James White’s thunder.

Worst Case Scenario: Hailing from powerhouse Lake Travis, the dreaded ‘system player’ tag looms heavy over several Cavaliers, as guys such as Tanner Gillette, Chris Aydam, and Garrett Gilbert have all put up monster numbers, only to stumble at the next level.  Nixon is the best running back prospect out of the school in quite a while, but lacks the elite acceleration of a Mike Goodson or Trey Williams.  It’s possible he ends up as quality depth when guys like Rodney Anderson and Jay Bradford arrive on campus.