Joe Mixon is one of the best running backs on the West Coast in the 2014 recruiting class. The Oakley (Calif.) Freedom High School product has already attracted numerous offers, and the story of his recruitment figures to be the highlight of the summer.
Mixon stands at 6'2, 207 pounds. Rivals ranks him as the 82nd best overall recruit and the ninth best running back available in 2014. ESPN ranks him as the 135th best prospect available, the 10th best recruit in California and the ninth best running back in the class. 247Sports pegs Mixon as the 76th top recruit, the ninth overall running back and the seventh best recruit in the state of California. Mixon is also ranked by Scout as the fifth best running back in this class.
As of the end of April, Mixon currently holds more than 40 offers, including schools like Cal, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, USC and Washington.
Derrell Warren, SB Nation West Coast Recruiting Analyst: Joe Mixon is one of the best game breaking backs in the nation. An explosive athlete, he takes shorter strides than you'd expect from a taller runner but his turnover allows him to get up to top speed quickly to exploit open lanes and creases
Mixon is at his best when he is able to hit a seam and get going downhill, although he will bounce outside on occasion in an effort to use his speed. He runs with good velocity in between the tackles and finishes runs aggressively, but will need to fill out his 6'2, 195-pound frame due to his slender build in order for that attribute to fully translate to the college level. While the power element of his game is still evolving, the main ingredient of his skill set (and what has attracted such an impressive amount of suitors) is his ability to consistently win footraces in the open field.
A player who is more fast than quick, Mixon doesn't use a vast assortment of moves, but shows the ability the make tacklers miss with subtle changes of direction when operating in space. Primarily, he is the type of runner you'd like to see use one cut and get going downhill, making use of his acceleration.
In the pass game Mixon appears to have good hands but his most impressive attribute might be his route running ability. On tape he runs a nice assortment of patterns, but what really stands out is his ability to sell his routes and create separation from linebackers after inducing them to lose leverage.
Ultimately, Mixon is a national recruit at the running back position with his frame and long speed. He eventually projects to top out at around 215 pounds with the ability to retain his big play ability. Getting on the field early should be no problem and will likely operate in a rotation or as a complimentary back during the early stages of his career, with the upside to be an All-Conference type of feature back in either his second or third year on campus.
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