AUSTIN, Texas -- For most running backs, summer 7-on-7 is hardly a chance to shine as they attempt to hone their receiving skills. For Texas A&M commit Varshaun Nixon, a 5'9, 185-pound back from Austin (Texas) Lake Travis, the summer work is a chance for him to show off his skills as a deep threat.
Yeah, that's right, the running back is perhaps the premier deep threat for a Lake Travis 7-on-7 squad that has already qualified for the state championships with their win at the Round Rock SQT on Saturday.
In the finals, Nixon was hard to miss streaking down the field for an early touchdown catch. When Westwood tried to bracket him with a safety over the top, he simply adjusted to the ball and made the grab in traffic only a couple of minutes later. It was hardly surprising, however -- Nixon has been doing the same thing in 7-on-7 for three years now and has racked up almost 800 combined yards receiving the last two falls.
The consensus four-star prospect, who is ranked as one of the top all-purpose backs in the country credits his success to work on his hands and speed, much of it in practice during the season and in spring drills.
Committed to Texas A&M since late November, Nixon told SB Nation Recruiting that he's trying to display the skills at 7-on-7 that he'll use under head coach Kevin Sumlin in the Aggie version of the Air Raid offense.
"I've talked to coach McKinney and asked what he wants in a back and that's what he's looking for," Nixon said, referring to new co-offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney, who will handle playcalling duties in 2013.
Some running backs might not care for the designation of all-purpose back, as it's rather demeaning to their ability to handle load carries and feature in the prominent role in a college offense. Not Nixon.
"I'm pretty much an all-purpose back, but I can be a running back, too," he said, acknowledging the accuracy of his designation. "I'm comfortable to be whatever in college, whether it's slot or running back, but I want to be focus on running back."
As for his recruitment, he didn't exactly grow up a fan of the Aggies.
"Actually, no, Texas was the school that I followed when I was younger. We didn't like A&M, but I grew out of it and fell in love with the Aggies," he said.
The move to the SEC played a big role in Nixon's decision, as did the ascension of McKinney to the offensive coordinator role after he was the running back coach last season -- it was the relationship Nixon has with McKinney that helped convince him that College Station was the right fit for him.
A trip to College Station for the SEC opener helped seal the deal, even though he waited several months to commit. The electric atmosphere for the Florida game convinced him he should play in front of the raucous College Station crowds in college.
He's also seen the video for the renovations to the stadium -- known affectionately over at SB Nation A&M site Good Bull Hunting as the Hate Barn -- and said he can't wait to play there.
Asked if he's going to be able to hear the calls from his future quarterback at the new-look facility, Nixon's response was simple.
"Hopefully," he said, with more than a trace of skepticism.
Hate Barn gonna hate.
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