Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon declares for NFL Draft

The junior earned consensus All-American status on Wednesday.

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Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon tackles Nebraska’s WanÕDale Robinson during a football game between Iowa and Nebraska at Kinnick Stadium on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. IowaÕs defense sacked Martinez three times.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor


Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that he is declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pounder was recently named the No. 10 prospect in the upcoming draft by ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. He was also named the top draft-eligible defensive tackle.

“I have loved playing football for as long as I can remember,” Nixon said on Twitter. “Like most kids who put on a helmet and pads, I dreamed of playing in the NFL one day. I feel like now is my chance to make that dream a reality. So, I have decided to leave the University of Iowa and enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

“At every step of my journey, I had so many people who were dedicated to my success. It began with the love and unwavering support of my parents Rodney and Chwanda Nixon.

“I have had many great teachers and coaches along the path, especially here at Iowa. I would not be in the position to chase my NFL dream without the leadership of coach Kirk Ferentz. I am very thankful for coach Kelvin Bell, coach Phil Parker, and coach Seth Wallace, who always challenged me to be my very best. The experiences and lessons learned as an Iowa Hawkeye will be with me forever.

“Finally, I want to thank you, the fans. There is nothing like playing at Kinnick Stadium in front of the best fans in college football. Standing shoulder to shoulder with my amazing teammates and swarming out of the tunnel at Kinnick is something I will always remember. I have grown, developed, and learned so much being an Iowa Hawkeye and I cannot wait to see what this new chapter brings.”

As a redshirt junior, Nixon dominated for the Hawkeyes in 2020.

The Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year in the Big Ten led the conference in tackles for loss (33), tied for the conference lead in sacks (5.5), and had the most tackles by a Big Ten defensive lineman (41).

“I am very happy for Daviyon and his family. I know he put a lot of time into making the choice to take this step,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said in a release. “Since he arrived on campus, Daviyon put in a tremendous amount of work to be a difference maker for us on defense and in the locker room. A year ago he was a part-time player, and today he leaves our program as the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year and will likely be a consensus All-American. His teammates love him and his coaches will miss coaching him on and off the field.”

Nixon was disruptive on seemingly every snap in 2020, but his signature play came against Penn State, when he picked off Nittany Lion quarterback Sean Clifford and ran 71 yards for a touchdown. On the way, Nixon pulled out a euro step to evade Clifford. The play was an impressive athletic feat for a player the size of Nixon.

Nixon was the best player on the 2020 Iowa team that went 6-2 and won six consecutive games to finish the regular season.

The Kenosha, Wisconsin, native played one season at Iowa Western before joining the Hawkeye program in 2018. Nixon redshirted in 2018 and only started one game in 2019 before becoming one of the best players in the country in 2020.

Nixon is, to this point, the only Iowa junior to declare for the draft. Alaric Jackson and Ihmir Smith-Marsette are among the Hawkeye seniors who have declared. Unlike normal circumstances, seniors have the opportunity to come back for another season of eligibility because of a waiver provided by the NCAA. Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum has yet to announce if he is returning for his senior season or entering the draft.

Earlier Wednesday, Nixon was became the 27th consensus All-American in the history of the Iowa program. Nixon is also the only player in the country to be named a finalist for the Outland Trophy and Nagurski Trophy, and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik award.

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