After months of speculation and numerous recruiting trips, Freedom High running back Joe Mixon will announce his college decision Saturday at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
Mixon, a five-star prospect and one of the most heavily recruited high school seniors in the country, has three finalists -- UCLA, Oklahoma and Wisconsin -- from what he said were 51 offers.
"The recruiting process has been cool but long," Mixon said during a phone interview earlier this week. "I'm glad to get it over with."
The 6-foot-2, 214-pound running back thinks his announcement will be made in the third quarter of the game, which starts at 10 a.m. PST. NBC is televising.
Mixon isn't the only East Bay player competing in the Army bowl. El Cerrito linebacker D.J. Calhoun, who is headed to Arizona State, also is on the West squad.
Mixon is one of the most highly sought high school football players from the East Bay in a generation, joining such big-time recruits as De La Salle's D.J. Williams, Aaron Taylor and Amani Toomer, El Cerrito's Jamir Miller and Monte Vista's Kyle Wright. He is the first five-star recruit from the East Bay -- according to scout.com rankings -- since linebacker Josh Tatum of McClymonds in 2006. He went to USC.
Mixon said the major considerations in cutting down to his final three were "basically where I could fit in the best and what kind of program they are and what they've got to offer after football."
As a senior at Freedom, Mixon ran for 1,704 yards and 28 touchdowns in 11 games, including 470 yards and nine TDs in two North Coast Section playoff games. His career totals were 4,281 rushing yards and 76 touchdowns.
Mixon said he got the idea to announce in San Antonio from Grant Union-Sacramento star Shaq Thompson, who did the same thing at the 2012 game. Mixon said he and Thompson are cousins, and what Thompson did left a big impression.
"Basically, it inspired me to do the same thing," said Mixon, whose cousin picked Cal but signed with Washington. Oral commitments are not binding and letter of intent day isn't until Feb. 5.
Calhoun, a 6-foot, 204-pound outside linebacker who has been committed to Arizona State since October, said in a phone interview that he was reluctant to play in the Army Bowl when he was first invited because he thought El Cerrito teammate Adarius Pickett was more deserving.
"But I'm blessed to have this opportunity and make the most of it," Calhoun said.
Pickett will be competing in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Sunday at Carson's StubHub Center.
The cornerback/running back was named the 2013 Bay Area News Group East Bay Football Player of the Year. He's committed to UCLA.
Follow Phil Jensen on Twitter at twitter.com/JensenPhil.