May 25, 2024

Gus Malzahn, then-Auburn football head coach, informed Kenny Dillingham in 2019 that he was “set” at quarterback due of incoming 5-star freshman Bo Nix, which was exposed on the Grit and Glory documentary series.

“I was recruited to Auburn by the head coach, who told me, ‘We have Bo Nix coming.'” “You’re set.” Dillingham stated (h/t Ducks Digest). “The amount of hype around this and Auburn was gigantic.”

Malzahn was correct in many aspects. Nix won nine games in his first season under center and defeated Alabama in his first Iron Bowl, which he confessed was his only childhood desire rather than competing in the NFL.

Unfortunately, Nix regressed in his sophomore season, struggling under Chad Morris and losing the narrative he built during his freshman year. Malzahn’s resignation was caused by his lackluster offensive coordinator hire, as well as his attitude toward a six-win season, which he referred to as a success despite losing to South Carolina in one of the program’s worst losses throughout his tenure.

Of course, the Bryan Harsin era dampened Nix’s Plains experience and prompted him to go elsewhere, ultimately bringing him to Oregon and a two-year run that earned him a first-round NFL draft pick.


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It’s apparent at this point: Nix’s departure from Auburn provided him with all he could have wanted after reaching his peak on the Plains at the 2019 Iron Bowl. Sure, the 2021 season was his real statistical peak, but there were calls to replace him as the starting quarterback with TJ Finley.

This does not sound like peaking.

Nobody would have predicted that Nix would go into an NFL offense and immediately be the answer in 2020 and 2021. Leading the Ducks to 22 wins in two years, including two bowl game victories, is why NFL executives believe he will thrive with the Denver Broncos.

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