Combine opens Pitt star's eyes to reality of NFL football
College Football Videos
Former Pitt football standout Lucas Nix has been working out with Dom DeCicco and Jason Pinkston for years, so the fact the three of them have been training together almost daily since the season ended should really come as no surprise.
However, for Nix, these workouts feel a little different.
That's because, very soon, Nix will be joining DeCicco and Pinkston in the NFL.
Nix, a Thomas Jefferson High School graduate, grew up playing sports with DeCicco, and the two went on to star together with the Jaguars.
After high school, both players signed with Pitt, where they became teammates with Pinkston, a fellow South Hills product from Baldwin.
However, DeCicco and Pinkston are older than Nix, and last year he watched as they became NFL players: DeCicco, a linebacker/special teams player with the Chicago Bears; and Pinkston, a guard with the Cleveland Browns.
Now, it's his turn.
Nix, a 6-foot-6, 317-pound offensive lineman, returned from the NFL scouting combine on Saturday, where the reality of his NFL future started to sink in.
"The combine was the first thing that really opened my eyes," Nix said. "That's where you start getting treated like a grown man. It's down to business."
At the combine, he interacted with personnel from every NFL team, underwent a slew of medical exams and psychological tests and worked out in front of scouts.
Nix missed much of his senior year at Pitt with a knee injury, so the medical exams were especially important.
"The first two days there, during the day, you go through all sorts of medical stuff," he said. "They look at your bloodwork, heart rate, everything you can think of. ... They all looked at my knee, and it checked out fine."
Nix participated in the vertical leap, recording a 29.5-inch jump, and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.28 seconds.
He was interviewed briefly by each NFL team, and representatives from the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers engaged Nix in more lengthy interviews.
He said teams expressed interest about him playing guard and tackle, both of which he played at Pitt.
"Every team I talked to, I wanted to express that I was comfortable at both," he said.
During his TJ days, he played on three WPIAL Class AAA championships and two PIAA championships, and was selected to the Tribune-Review's Terrific 25, the Big 33 Football Classic and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Nix arrived at Pitt as one of the most coveted offensive line prospects in the country. He played sparingly as a freshman, then became a full-time starter at offensive tackle as a sophomore.
By the time he was a junior, he was regarded as one of the best offensive linemen in the Big East.
Many draft experts predict he will be selected between the second and fourth rounds. NFLdraftscout.com ranks him as the ninth-best guard in the draft.
The next big step will come at Pitt's pro day on March 12, where he and other Pitt seniors will work out before NFL scouts. After that, it's the draft April 26-28.
"This is an exciting time for me and my family," he said. "I'm pumped."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: South Park’s Justin Minda, Baldwin’s Alina Stahl
- Hotel still a possibility for August Wilson Center
- Spokesman for India’s PM tells Pitt audience of pro-business agenda
- Through the Years: QB Cappa kept Riverview undefeated
- NK grocery store robbed
- Steelers’ Tomlin does not like his coaching style to be characterized
- Despres is relishing his regular role on Penguins’ blue line
- Heyl: Trouble tends to migrate
- Cop killer Abu-Jamal to speak by recording to Vermont school ceremonies
- Hospitals, doctors in Pa. received $32M in 5 months from drug, medical device companies
- Newsmaker: David Spigelmyer