BREAKING: Ole Miss football announces assistant coach Derrick Nix taking offensive coordinator position at Auburn
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss long-time assistant coach Derrick Nix is leaving the Rebels to join Hugh Freeze in Auburn as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator. On Wednesday morning, Ole Miss football announced via X, formerly known as Twitter, that the Rebels’ wide receivers coach and assistant head coach will be leaving for Auburn.
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) January 17, 2024
The Derrick Nix File
Nix served as Ole Miss’ running backs coach, starting with the 2008 season, and coached there for twelve seasons before moving over to coach Rebel wide receivers in 2020. Nix has worked for former Ole Miss head coaches Houston Nutt, Freeze, Matt Luke and Lane Kiffin during his tenure in Oxford.
Nix’s move to Auburn as offensive coordinator is a promotion; however, after the Tigers’ bowl loss a few weeks ago, Freeze announced he will be calling the plays at Auburn this coming season.
In 2022, Nix mentored a talented crew of Rebel receivers that paired with the SEC’s top rushing offense. Senior transfer Malik Heath led the way with 971 yards on 60 catches and five touchdowns, the eighth-best season in Ole Miss history in terms of yards. Jonathan Mingo returned for his senior campaign and did not disappoint with 861 yards and five scores on 51 catches, including the FBS’ top receiving game of the season: an Ole Miss record 247 yard outing at Vanderbilt that ranked as the 13th-best in SEC history. Mingo went on to be drafted in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.
In 2021, Dontario Drummond became just the sixth Rebel to ever eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in a single season, notching 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns on 76 total catches. Drummond was a key target for quarterback Matt Corral, who was on the top quarterbacks nationally in 2021 and led an explosive Rebel offense to the Sugar Bowl.
Nix’s first season as wide receivers coach was a memorable one as he guided Elijah Moore to an All-America campaign. Being coached by Nix for the first time, Moore led the nation in receiving yards per game (149.1) and receptions per game (10.8) on his way to being named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award as one of the best wide receivers in college football. Following his spectacular season, Moore was drafted in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.
Nix has tutored some of the most productive backs in Ole Miss history in Dexter McCluster, Brandon Bolden, Jaylen Walton, Jordan Wilkins and Scottie Phillips, while the Rebels have ranked top-three in the SEC in rushing three times.
Ever since his arrival in Oxford, Nix has been one of the best recruiters in the SEC. He is known for his strong recruiting in the state of Mississippi, and 247Sports ranked Nix as the No. 21 recruiter in the country in 2014.
In 2019, Nix coached a rushing attack that ranked second in the SEC and ninth nationally with 251.3 yards per game. The trio of Jerrion Ealy (722 yards), Phillips (542 yards) and Snoop Conner (512 yards) combined for 1,776 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground.
In 2018, Phillips made a smooth transition from junior college to the FBS ranks thanks to Nix’s tutelage. He was on pace to become the second Rebel to eclipse 1,000 yards in as many seasons before an injury limited him over the final three games of the year. However, Phillips finished with 928 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, while Isaiah Woullard emerged with 510 all-purpose yards in his first season as a Rebel.
During the 2017 campaign, Wilkins thrived under Nix’s guidance. The senior running back rushed for 1,011 yards to become just the fifth Rebel in school history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in a single season. Wilkins added 10 touchdowns (nine rushing, one receiving), as Ole Miss running backs accounted for 15 TDs throughout the year.
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) and total offense (517.8 ypg). The Rebels eclipsed 600 yards of total offense in three games, a school record, and more than 200 yards rushing in six contests.
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.
In 2012, Nix helped the Rebel run game increase its average by 40 yards from 2011 to 2012. The Rebels finished fifth in the SEC with 173.8 rushing yards per game.
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.
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).
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.
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.”
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.
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 and his wife Allison have one daughter, Ava.
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.