AUBURN, Ala. – Get ready for the Bo Show.
“He did a very good job with his attention to detail,” Malzahn said. “He had a very good fall camp. There are a lot of intangibles that go with that. The consistency, giving us the best chance of being successful.”
Nix will become the first true freshman quarterback to start Auburn’s season opener since Travis Tidwell in 1946 when the No. 16 Tigers take on the No. 11 Ducks in the AdvoCare Classic next Saturday.
“It’s a dream come true,” Nix said. “I’ve always wanted to play quarterback at Auburn. It’s a goal of mine that I’ve had for a long, long time, as far as I can remember all the way back to throwing the football in the yard with my dad. It was an awesome moment and you honestly couldn’t write it any better.”
Nix will join Stan White and Jason Campbell as the only first-year quarterbacks to start an Auburn season opener since freshmen became eligible again in 1972. Both White and Campbell were redshirt freshmen when they started season openers in 1990 and 2001, respectively.
“I came in at a good situation,” Nix said. “Coach Malzahn and Coach Dillingham did a really good job of getting me prepared quickly.
“From spring to fall camp, I got a lot better at understanding the playbook, knowing what was going on at practice and knowing how Coach Malzahn called plays. The more reps I got, the better and more comfortable I got with it.”
Malzahn introduced Nix as the Tigers’ starter during Auburn’s team meeting before practice after sharing his decision with Nix and redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood.
“It was a very good competition,” Malzahn said. “The biggest thing is we’ve got two quarterbacks we feel like we can win with. It was a very good competition. I will say this about Joey – I told him this – he’s going to help us win this year, there’s no doubt in my mind.
“Our team was very excited. They’re happy they know who is going to lead us into that first game, and they responded well on the practice field today.”
Nix enrolled in January after leading Pinson Valley High School to consecutive Alabama 6A state championships while being coached by his father, Patrick, who played quarterback for Tigers from 1992-95.
“He’s not your normal freshman,” Malzahn said. “The fact that he came in in the spring really helped. The fact that he got quality reps in the spring really helped. He worked extremely hard over the summer. You could really tell that. You could tell that he’s been coached well in high school and has a good feel for the game.”
The 6-2, 207-pound Nix set state records in high school accounting for 12,000 yards and 161 touchdowns while earning Mr. Football honors in 2018 before signing with Auburn last December.
Like his father, Bo Nix wears No. 10 for Auburn. Patrick Nix backed up Stan White in 1992-93, coming off the bench in the ’93 Iron Bowl to throw one of the most famous passes in Auburn history, a 35-yard touchdown pass to Frank Sanders on fourth-and-15 to help secure the Tigers’ unbeaten season.
Patrick Nix started for the Tigers in 1994 and 1995, completing his career with 31 touchdown passes, 4,957 passing yards (seventh in Auburn history) and a 17-5-1 record as a starter.
Patrick Nix holds the Auburn record for most passing yards in a season opener with 372 on 28-of-39 passing with one touchdown in a 46-13 win over Ole Miss as a senior on Sept. 2, 1995, a record Nix will have the opportunity to break on Aug. 31 against Oregon in Arlington, Texas.
“He taught me never let the moment get to big,” Bo Nix said. “You’re prepared for any moment you step into. You’ll only get better and better. He did a really good job of allowing me to be myself. He reminded me of the strengths I have and how to use those strengths. He was always there for me. He always pushed me to a better player and he’s really helped me get to where I am today.”