Every time Tennessee gets a commitment in either football or men’s basketball, we will write up an impact report looking at what that recruit does well, what we feel can be improved, and what his projected impact with the Vols could be over the next few years.
Latest Commit: Julian Nixon, WR
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 230 pounds
School: Centennial (Georgia)
Home Town: Roswell, GA
247Sports Composite: No. 238 overall, No. 42 WR
247Sports: No. 93 WR
Rivals: 5.8 rating, No. 188 overall, No. 34 WR
Notable Offers: Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma
What we like:
Julian Nixon has a big frame, and he knows how to use it. He’s adept at catching jump balls and passes thrown in traffic, using his 6-foot-3 body and physicality to separate himself from the defender and make sure he comes down with the ball. He has a very good catch radius and simply does what needs to be done to pull in a reception. I particularly like what he brings in the red zone, and he’s an ideal target there. Not only is Nixon big, but he’s gritty and fights for extra yardage. He won’t go down on first contact, and he plays with a lot of aggression. He runs the routes he knows very well, too.
With his frame and lack of elite speed — though he’s not slow — there’s a chance Nixon could develop into a tight end. He has the physicality to be a good blocker, and his size would make him fit in well in the tight end group. He suffered a season-ending injury as a sophomore and put on more weight as a result. He’s trimmed down some since then, but he can play effectively even with more weight on him.
Places to improve:
Because of his lack of breakaway speed, Nixon needs to find other ways to separate from corners at the next level. He can get away with pushing around defenders in high school, but SEC defensive backs are bigger and stronger. Nixon will need to work on his handwork and getting his feet to move quicker out of cuts and breaks. He already has a strong route-running foundation, and adding more to his route tree will only raise his potential.
Tennessee is bringing in an elite wide receiver haul in the 2021 class, and I’ll be interested to see if either Nixon or Roc Taylor ends up moving to tight end because of their big bodies and physical play. Regardless of where Nixon ends up, I like his ceiling and the way he refuses to go down on first contact. The Vols got a lot out of Jauan Jennings the last two years with that attitude, and Nixon can follow in his footsteps. I think Nixon needs some more coaching than other wideouts currently committed or signed with the Vols, but I look for him to make an impact early in his UT career because of his aggressive style of play and ability to snag jump balls.