Joe Mixon is headed to Southern California for two reasons next weekend: To participate in the Passing Down Best of the West 7on7 and he'll also take important unofficial visits to USC and UCLA while in town.
"I'm basically looking at both schools to see if it's a family and I want to see the coaches and whether they can help me get to the next level and academic-wise where I can get the most help and the most opportunities so I can get through school and get a degree," Mixon said.
The four-star running back from Oakley (Calif.) Freedom who earned the offensive MVP at the Rivals Camp in Los Angeles received his USC offer during its junior day in recent months. This will be his first trip to UCLA but he's definitely interested since the coaching staff has recruited him so diligently.
"They've been recruiting me pretty hard," Mixon said of the Bruins. "Coach (Steve) Broussard and coach Angus McClure have been on me a lot lately so they're saying I'm their No. 1 guy for the class of 2014 and they want me come and help build a dynasty at UCLA.
"(USC has) been on me hard, too. Coach (Clay) Helton is making sure he stays in contact and so does coach (Tommie) Robinson and coach (Lane) Kiffin. I'm pretty much talking to those three."
Rated as the ninth-best running back and No. 82 prospect in the 2014 class by Rivals.com, Mixon is fresh off a visit to Washington that was definitely impressive and informative.
The Oakley Freedom standout is a close friend of former five-star Shaq Thompson and some of their talks this weekend helped the Huskies in recruiting Mixon. Former teammate Darrell Daniels signed with Washington last recruiting cycle.
"I had a great time up there at Washington," Mixon said. "I had a fun time. They treated me like I was their own and I got to hang out with all the players.
"They were talking a lot to me and they said to do what's best for me but at the same time you want to help build a team, not go to a team where you won't play until sophomore or junior year. They were telling me to stay positive in the recruiting process and to just take my time and everything will work itself out.
"I've known Shaq since I was in the seventh grade. He's basically been looking out for me. He's like a big brother to me so we have a strong relationship. We had a lot of fun and he said do what's best for me."
Mixon recently narrowed his favorites to 16 with USC, UCLA and Washington all making the cut. New interest from Oregon, Alabama and LSU could alter the frontrunners if any of those three schools offer.