Nixon awarded prestigious 2010 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship
Mike Nixon, a linebacker at Arizona State University for the past four years, has added another award to his long list of academic accomplishments. Nixon was named a recipient of a 2010 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Of the 29 scholarship beneficiaries nationwide, Nixon was one of two Pacific-10 Conference student-athletes selected for the honor. The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee has awarded a $7,500 scholarship to Nixon for part-time or full-time postgraduate study at a university or professional school.
In addition to the receiving recognition from the NCAA, the former defensive stand out's scholastic achievements were acknowledged at the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Banquet on March 6 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Nixon, along with 40 other Scholar-Athletes, coaches, referees, chapter leaders and a distinguished Arizonan were honored at the ceremony. Nixon served as the speaker for the group at the banquet.
Nixon is one of the most decorated academic student-athletes in ASU history. Nixon was a highly productive linebacker who began his ASU career in 2006 after playing minor league baseball for four years. He played in all 50 games over the last four years, starting 31. Nixon totaled 253 tackles (169 solo), 25.0 tackles for loss (minus 93 yards), 5.5 sacks (minus 33 yards), 16 pass break-ups, eight interceptions, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in his career. He emerged as one of ASU's top defensive players over the last two seasons, leading the team in tackles in both 2008 and 2009. His five interceptions as a junior in 2008 tied for the most in the Pac-10 that season. Accomplished in the classroom, he was a three-time First Team Academic All-Pac-10 and First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII honoree. He was a Wuerffel Trophy Finalist and was a Lott Trophy Quarterfinalist.
In 2009, Nixon started all 12 games at weak side linebacker and led the Sun Devils in tackles for the second straight year, totaling 73 tackles (52 solo) on the season, and tied for the team lead in interceptions with three. He also had six tackles for loss (minus 21 yards), 0.5 sacks (minus six yards), four pass break-ups and three forced fumbles on the season. Nixon was an Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 selection, a First Team Academic All-Pac-10 and First Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII selection for the third straight year. He served as a team captain, along with defensive end Dexter Davis and offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao. Nixon had four or more tackles in every game in 2009 with six or more in nine of the team's 12 games. He collected three interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown, and blocked a punt in ASU's season-opening victory over Idaho State on Sept. 5. For that performance he was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week and Lott Trophy IMPACT Player of the Week. Nixon collected seven tackles (six solo) and forced a fumble that led to an ASU touchdown at No. 21 Georgia on Sept. 26.
Nixon played in all 12 games in 2008, making 11 starts (10 at weak side linebacker and one at middle linebacker). He led the team and tied for the Pac-10 lead with five interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. He also led the Sun Devils with 90 tackles (60 solo), which ranked sixth in the Pac-10, and had 8.0 tackles for loss (minus 36 yards), one sack, five pass break-ups and one forced fumble on the season. Following the campaign he was an Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 selection, and earned First-Team all-conference honors from PhilSteele.com. He was a Pac-10 All-Academic First-Team selection and an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII honoree. Nixon had seven tackles (four solo) and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of victory over UCLA on Nov. 28. His interception for a score was one of an NCAA record-tying four defensive touchdowns the Sun Devils scored in that game. He shared the team's Most Valuable Defensive Player of the Year award with senior safety Troy Nolan and also was a co-winner of the Clyde B. Smith Award for academic achievement, along with senior linebacker Anthony Reyes, at the team's year-end banquet.
Nixon played in all 13 games in 2007, making four starts at middle linebacker and finished fourth on the team with 58 tackles (37 solo). He totaled three tackles for loss (minus 12 yards), including one sack (minus nine yards), and four pass break-ups on the season with two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. In 2006 Nixon played in all 13 games, starting four at strong side linebacker and totaled 32 tackles (20 solo), 8.0 tackles for loss (-24 yards), 3.0 sacks (-10 yards), three pass deflections and one forced fumble. A 2002 graduate of Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, Nixon was also an outstanding baseball player (catcher) who signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school and played in their farm system until the end of 2005. His parents are Jim (CFO of Marco Crane) and Debbie (health care consultant) Nixon of Phoenix, Ariz.