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Monday, April 22, 2013
Joe Mixon back from Washington visit

By Erik McKinney

The recruiting battle for the top running back in the West is only heating up this spring, as college coaches look for any way to gain an advantage in the Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) sweepstakes.

This past weekend, Washington had its first chance to impress the nation's No. 135 player, as the 6-foot-2, 205-pound tailback made his way to the Huskies' spring game.

It was Mixon's first time on the Washington campus, and he came away impressed by everything the Huskies had to offer.

"The main thing was to meet all the coaches and players, build a relationship with them and just have fun," Mixon said. "That's exactly what happened."

What struck Mixon the most was how close the players are to each other.

"Sark (head coach Steve Sarkisian) does a great job with the program," Mixon said. "Just the way the team bonded -- I've never seen a team that close. They're like brothers and they put me into the family, saying, 'Come to Washington.' That stood out a lot, the way they carried themselves."

Mixon had an opportunity to speak to running backs coach Johnny Nansen about how he would fit into the offense.

"They run the same offense we do at my high school," Mixon said. "I think it'd be a perfect fit."

But Mixon isn't looking to push through the recruiting process at this point. He said he is looking forward to taking his official visits in the fall and making his announcement at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and his group of 16 finalists remains unchanged. Two of those programs will get visits from him this coming weekend, as Mixon travels to Los Angeles for a 7-on-7 tournament and unofficial visits to UCLA and USC.

As perhaps the most highly recruited player in the state and the region, Mixon said his spring has been "playing out well" when it comes to recruiting. Coaches will continue to visit Freedom throughout the evaluation period, but Mixon has his sights set on several more visits during the spring and summer.