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Monday, August 26, 2013
ESPN 300 RB Joe Mixon is down to five

By Erik McKinney

The choices are narrowing for ESPN 300 running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), who holds 50 offers but trimmed that list to a final five on Monday.

There wasn't much suspense when it came to finalists -- Cal, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Wisconsin -- for the 6-foot-1, 209-pound tailback. He'd already scheduled official visits to Cal (Sept. 13), Florida (Sept. 20), Oklahoma (Oct. 4) and Wisconsin (Oct. 11), so the big winner is Oregon, which should now receive Mixon's fifth visit.

A dynamic athlete on both sides of the ball, Mixon put on a show at various 7-on-7 camps this past spring and summer, cementing himself as one of the must-have recruits in the West region.

Mixon will announce his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 4.

RecruitingNation breaks down what each program has to offer Mixon and where they stand in his recruitment.

Cal

The Golden Bears made a big charge into Mixon's top five, as he seems to have a real connection with the new coaching staff and something of a pull to stay close to home for college. Mixon replaced an official visit to Texas A&M with one to Cal, saying that he wanted to get the full experience of an official visit rather than just what an unofficial visit is able to offer. Early on, it looked as though Mixon was definitely headed out of the area to play his football at the next level, but coach Sonny Dykes is doing a terrific job of keeping the local school in the mix for Mixon. Cal's history of producing tailbacks and the intrigue surrounding Dykes' high-powered offense make the Golden Bears a serious player for Mixon.

Florida

The Gators have long been in the running for Mixon, as the big back likes the SEC and what the Gators have produced at the position in recent years. Florida has the atmosphere Mixon is looking for and could take advantage of the fact that Mixon likes the idea of joining a loaded recruiting class. The Gators already have a commitment from running back Dalvin Cook (Miami/Miami Central), but Mixon won't be put off by joining a class with any number of running backs. Florida also appears to be in good shape for ESPN 300 safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Tex./Hebron), whom Mixon became good friends with at this summer's The Opening.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma being in the final five for a West Coast standout shouldn't come as a surprise. The Sooners grabbed three California standouts in the 2013 class and already have three West region recruits verbally committed for the 2014 class. Mixon wastes little time in calling Adrian Peterson his favorite running back, so it stands to reason that he would give the Sooners a long look for that reason alone.

Oregon

The Ducks jumped into the top five on Monday and based on their history of producing top tailbacks, it makes a lot of sense for Mixon. Oregon is another school with an ESPN 300 tailback -- Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial) -- already committed, but adding Mixon would give them possibly the top tailback tandem of any class in the country. Mixon showed this off-season that he could probably line up at wide receiver for any school in the Pac-12, and Oregon would be as good as any school in the conference in allowing him to showcase his receiving skills.

Wisconsin

Mixon has spoken highly of Wisconsin since the start of his recruiting process and running backs coach Thomas Hammock has a chance to make a statement if he can help land Mixon. Wisconsin is another school with a long tradition of running the ball and producing top tailbacks, and they'll get a bonus during his visit, as he will trip in with good friend and fellow ESPN 300 member Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco).