TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Combine opens Pitt star's eyes to reality of NFL football

College Football Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, March 8, 2012
 

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."

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Rossi: Looking at the next great Steeler
  2. Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
  3. After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
  4. McCullers’, McLendon’s prowess in clogging trenches crucial to Steelers defense
  5. Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions
  6. Reds solve Cole, stave off Pirates’ 9th-inning rally
  7. Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
  8. Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
  9. Biertempfel: Players, MLB agree logic of season’s setup needs to be examined
  10. Roman Catholic Church in midst of culture clash over gays
  11. Shell shovels millions into proposed Beaver County plant site