The countdown moves on!
Daviyon Nixon- RS Junior
Kenosha, Wisconsin (Indian Trail; Iowa Western CC)
6’3”, 305 lbs
2020 Projection: Starting Defensive Tackle
Matt Reisener summarized Nixon’s journey to Iowa well in last year’s countdown so I am 100% pulling from it:
Nixon originally committed to Iowa as a member of the class of a 2017 but took a detour to Iowa Western Junior College after academics prevented him from enrolling in classes that fall. Nixon made the most of his limited time at the JUCO level, finishing his freshman season with 44 tackles, 9 TFL, 5 sacks, and second team All-Conference honors.
While Nixon’s strong showing at Iowa Western drew interest from many other programs including Alabama, he followed through with his ultimate goal of being a Hawkeye and made his way to Iowa City the following year. Iowa’s coaches, with eyes on both Daviyon’s future and the team’s significant depth along the defensive line, opted to redshirt Nixon in 2018 to allow him to focus on making a smooth academic transition to a four-year university.
A true whirlwind. As if that wasn’t enough, right before 2019 got underway, Nixon dabbled with the transfer portal. It ended up becoming a non-issue, as he went on to have a strong 2019 season, where he tallied 29 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and 3 sacks.
Going into 2020, he’s the other potential every-down stud alongside Chauncey Golston. Though he is slotted to line up inside, he can certainly hold his own outside.
He does not have the same high floor as Golston, as he does not have the same instinctual ability. As Scott Dochterman noted when ranking him #1 on Iowa’s most important defenders list: a lost spring could not have helped in this area.
It’s clear that nobody, even Golston, has the potential of Nixon. Not only does he have the body to hold up offensive lineman inside but the speed, power, and length to impact the pass game. His nickname is “Big Truck” for goodness sakes!
The question is two-fold: 1) can he clean up these instinctual fundamentals? and 2) will he be able to hold up for 75-80% of snaps for the upcoming year?
If he 2020 is the year he puts it all together, he may be Iowa’s third defensive lineman in three years to leave with eligibility remaining.