Big Offensive Lineman Finds A Home In Auburn

Big offensive lineman Deon Mix talks about why his official visit to Auburn and the feeling he got from Gus Malzahn and staff made him choose the Tigers.

Batesville, Miss.—Two years ago while traveling the camp circuit with teammates from South Panola High, big offensive lineman Deon Mix got lost and found himself in Auburn. While he didn't get an opportunity to check out the campus then, last weekend he made his way back to the Plains for an official visit and found his future home.

A powerful offensive lineman from a high school powerhouse, the 6-4, 315 Mix played all five positions for Coach Lance Pogue during his career but really came into his own late in his senior season. A commitment to Mississippi State since June, Mix started to look around some to make sure he was making the right decision and that's when Auburn came into the picture.

Talking some with the former Auburn staff last fall, Mix says he never got around to visiting the Tigers at that time, but when Gus Malzahn was hired and his staff came together he says he reached out to Auburn to gauge their interest. "When the coaching staff got fired I called Coach Malzahn to see if I had an offer," Mix says. "He told me yes and the next day he was in my house. That let me know they were really serious about me."

The connection to Auburn became even stronger on Christmas Day when Auburn hired Coach Melvin Smith from Mississippi State. Someone that Mix had a very good relationship with from his time with the Bulldogs, Smith may have helped the Tigers get a foot in the door for the big linemen because of what he knew about the man himself.

"It had a lot of impact because me and Coach Smith are real tight," Mix says. "The fact is that he's not my coach, but because of the relationship we do have I trust the guys around him and I know that he's surrounded by a good group of guys."

Mix takes a break at practice for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game in Montgomery.

One of the mottos for South Panola is the saying ‘Once A Tiger, Always A Tiger'. That's something that Mix says he has always taken to heart, so much so that he's always had a fond place for Auburn when watching them play football. When it came time to take his official visit to the Plains after de-committing from Mississippi State, Mix says everything just fell into place for him.

"As soon as I got there I fell in love," Mix says. "The people over there were just so into us. Maybe it was all set up, but if it was then they did a good job. The whole city, everywhere we went, they knew who we were. They were telling us to come to Auburn and War Eagle. It was just crazy. I absolutely love the coaching staff that Coach Malzahn has put together. I'm just excited to get over there and show them what I can do to help us win another National Championship."

Signing just two offensive linemen in this class, Auburn was looking for specific needs in this year's class up front after signing a big class of seven in 2012. Needing help on the interior line at both guard and center, Mix is a player that could fill those roles. When he became a target for Auburn OL Coach J.B. Grimes he says it gave him an even stronger feeling that he should be a Tiger.

"It's crazy because they told me they had a few more guys they were going to try to get in, but since I told them I was coming I was the one they wanted," Mix says. "That was a wow moment for me because it showed me they were serious about me. I made up my mind I was coming to Auburn because any coaching staff in the SEC has that much faith in me to come in then I didn't have any choice but to go to Auburn."

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