Hometown: Norfolk, Va
High School: Norfolk Christian
Mario Nixon was rated as a 3 star recruit by all three major services. However, that is misleading, because ESPN rated him as a TE whereas Scout and Rivals rated him as a WR. He was ranked #97 by Rivals and #102 by Scout. ESPN ranked him 56th among TEs.
All the confusion about his position continued right up until he arrived at UVA. Even now, there is some debate. He's listed on the roster and the depth chart as a TE, but at just 215 pounds, he looks a lot more like a WR. Nixon certainly does not have the size or strength to line up as an in-line TE right now. He is much more likely to line up outside and hope to get a mismatch. With 3 solid TEs ahead of him on the roster, Nixon isn't likely to get much playing time at all on offense. He should get some playing time on special teams though.
In the future, Nixon has the potential to be a real weapon as a pass catching TE. He has good hands, but does need to work on catching the ball away from his body. He has good speed for a TE, and has the ability to go up and get a ball. Still, he needs to add size and strength before he can really be an asset on the field. He also needs to stay healthy, as he missed much of this past season with a torn labrum.
With the top two TEs entering their junior season, Nixon has a couple of years before he really needs to be ready. If he can add some size, he'll get some looks next year due to the mismatches he can create as a TE lined up outside. But in another 2 years, he'll find himself on the 2-deep and will need to be ready to play.