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August 5, 2013

California stars set for officials

When Wisconsin hosts Northwestern on Oct. 12, the recruiting battle off the field may be just as amped as the action at Camp Randall Stadium that afternoon.

With Rivals100 members Joe Mixon and Damien Mama set to officially visit on that date, it will be a huge weekend for Gary Andersen and his entire ensemble -- from assistant coaches to recruiting and support staff.

Mixon, the No. 15 player in the 2014 class, according to Rivals.com, proved he was deserving of his five-star ranking at the Rivals100 Five Star Challenge presented by Under Armour in Chicago.

"The best day for Mixon was Saturday, when he was virtually unstoppable during one-on-one drills," Rivals.com's Mike Farrell wrote. "Pity the linebackers, and there were great ones at the Five-Star Challenge, because none of them could keep up with Mixon. The five-star running back is an excellent route runner, so fast in and out of his breaks, and he has the speed to turn up the field and break away from anyone trying to chase him down.

"The Oakley (Calif.) Freedom standout catches everything just as well as any wide receiver. He was valuable during the 7-on-7 tournament, but they usually used him on short routes. He could have made an even bigger impact on wheel routes deep."

While Mixon turned heads amongst the skill players in Chicago, Mama, 6-foot-5 and 360 pounds, was a monster in the trenches, according to Farrell.

"When Mama was introduced during a dinner on Friday night, there was a gasp in the room because he is just so big -- 6-foot-5 and 360 pounds," Farrell wrote. "What's impressive about Mama, though, is that he's actually light on his feet and moves well for a player his size. Mama doesn't have to move much because he takes up so much room that it's tough for defensive linemen to get around him.

"He projects as an offensive guard, and he proved during the weekend that he can hold his own with any defensive lineman in the country. He won the Offensive Line MVP award and definitely deserved it."

Mixon now has official visits sets for Texas A&M, Florida, and Oklahoma, in addition to Wisconsin. Those four schools are in his top 10, along with California, Ohio State, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee and Washington.

The Badgers already have a commitment from three-star back Taiwan Deal and are in a good position with Qadree Ollison, who will decide in September, but would certainly have room for a player of Mixon's caliber.

Mama, the No. 5 offensive guard in the country, has Wisconsin is his top 13, a list littered with some of the elite schools across the country. UW would easily have room for Mama with just three offensive linemen -- George Panos, Jaden Gault and Michael Deiter -- committed in the current class.

It appears the idea of playing together is intriguing for both prospects. And while package deals often do not hold true, Wisconsin, Florida, California, Ohio State and Washington are the five schools that remain of both Mama and Mixon's top lists.

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