Freeze Transcript on the Hiring of Phil Longo and Wesley McGriff
Three-Year NFL Veteran to Represent Ole Miss on the Biggest Stage
Walton, Mathers, Dodson, Wilkins Share the Load
Rebel Head Coach Visits With Patients And Hospital Employees
Running Backs Coach Honored For Playing Career With Golden Eagles
At Ole Miss, Nix has tutored four of the most productive backs in school history in Dexter McCluster, Brandon Bolden, Jeff Scott and Jaylen Walton, while the Rebels have ranked top three in the SEC in rushing twice.
Last season, Nix coached running back Akeem Judd to an impressive year on the ground. In his first season as the Rebels’ primary back, Judd ran for 826 yards during the 2016 campaign, the most by an Ole Miss running back since Jeff Scott totaled 846 rushing yards in 2012.
With a variety of running backs with different styles and strengths at his disposal, Nix helped the 2015 Ole Miss squad lead the SEC and rank top-10 nationally in scoring (40.8), total offense (517.8 ypg) and passing (334.7 ypg). The Rebels eclipsed 600 yards of total offense in three games, a school record, and more than 200 yards rushing in six contests.
Walton emerged as the leader of the group, rushing for 730 yards and averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He finished his career second in Ole Miss history with 4,742 career all-purpose yards; Walton found the end zone 23 times throughout his career, the sixth-most by an Ole Miss Rebel. His 1,957 career rushing yards sit ninth in program history.
During the 2014 season, Nix’s running backs topped 150 yards rushing in seven games to assist in the Rebel offensive attack.
In 2013, Nix helped the Ole Miss offense rank top five in the SEC and top 25 nationally in total offense (473.3 ypg), which also broke the school record at the time. Led by a bevy of talented rushers, the Ole Miss ground game was a headache for many opposing defenses to try and stop.
Scott averaged 61.6 yards per game in eight contests before going down with injury. In his stead, young backs I’Tavius Mathers and Walton each played well, setting respective career highs for rushing yards in a game and each topping the 100-yard plateau in a game. Walton, a threat on runs, catches and returns, ranked ninth in the SEC with 111.8 all-purpose yards per league game.
In 2012, Nix helped Scott, who finished the season with career-best totals of 846 yards and six touchdowns, develop into more of a feature back while the Rebel run game increased its average by 40 yards from 2011 to 2012. The Rebels finished fifth in the SEC with 173.8 rushing yards per game.
Nix also helped with Randall Mackey’s transition from quarterback to running back, where as a senior Mackey ran for 325 yards and four touchdowns while also lining up at slot receiver.
The Nix backfield stable helped Ole Miss register the third-best ground game in the SEC in 2010 (207.58 ypg), while Bolden ranked No. 5 in the league in rushing (976 yards). A Nix pupil for the duration of his career, Bolden finished second in school history in both total touchdowns (33) and rushing TDs (27), third in all-purpose yards (3,681) and fourth in rushing yards (2,604).
In 2009, McCluster became the first player in SEC history with 1,000 rushing yards (1,169) and 500 receiving yards (520) in the same season. The first team All-American recorded the second-highest rushing total in school history and went on to be drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
In his first season with the Rebels, Nix helped construct a running attack that ranked second in the SEC. Using a balanced attack, the Rebels featured three rushers that piled up at least 500 rushing yards in McCluster (655), Cordera Eason (647) and Bolden (542). McCluster was also named a second team All-SEC selection as an all-purpose player.
Before arriving in Oxford, Nix spent 2007 in the NFL as offensive assistant and quality control coach for the Atlanta Falcons.
Nix, one of the best-known players to ever wear a Southern Miss uniform, began his four-year stint on the Golden Eagles sidelines as a defensive graduate assistant in 2003. The following year, Nix was promoted to tight ends coach before being appointed to the running backs coaching position, where he spent two years.
In 2006 under Nix’s direction, the Southern Miss running backs ran for 2,378 yards and scored 23 touchdowns, the first time the Golden Eagles ran for over 2,000 yards since 1987. True freshman Damion Fletcher, who earned first team All-Conference USA honors and Freshman All-American honors, ran for 1,388 yards and scored 11 touchdowns, the second-most yards in a season in school history. Fletcher set the freshman rushing record at Southern Miss and for Conference USA, and he was also named a finalist for the Conerly Trophy, signifying the top player in the state of Mississippi.
In 2005, Nix got career-best years from youthful players Larry Thomas and Cody Hull. Thomas posted three 100-yard rushing performances, while Hull started the final two games of the year and recorded his first 100-yard rushing day in the New Orleans Bowl with 161 yards on 37 carries, setting the Bowl record and the Southern Miss all-time bowl record. Hull’s 37 carries tied for the fourth most in school history, matching Nix’s own 37-carry performance against Nevada in 1998.
As the Golden Eagles’ tight ends coach in 2004, Nix’s crew, used primarily as blockers in the offensive scheme, was successful.
A three-time all-conference selection, Nix was a record-setting running back throughout his Southern Miss playing days and was named to the USM “Team of the Century.” He recently became one of only five players in the history of the football program to become a member of the Southern Miss Legends Club.
Nix was the first Golden Eagle ever to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his freshman and sophomore campaigns and the only Southern Miss and C-USA player ever to rush for 1,000 yards or more in three seasons. His career achievements at Southern Miss also included being the C-USA Freshman of the Year and a first team Freshman All-American in 1998.
The Attalla, Alabama, native was born Feb. 22, 1980 and is a 2002 Southern Miss graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sports administration. Nix is married to the former Allison Story of Frankfort, Kentucky, who also attended USM and played forward on the women’s basketball team.
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