The Nix Factor

Derrick Nix was the ace recruiter of former Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt's coaching staff. Hugh Freeze, who replaced Nutt, decided to retain Nix last night, and the impact is already being felt on the recruiting trail.

Kailo Moore
One of the first players Coach Nix started recruiting as an Ole Miss Rebel was West Bolivar's star running back in 2008.

"He has been recruiting me since 8th grade," Moore said. "He's super cool. Coach Nix was the first coach to start recruiting me, and we just have that bond that I don't have with anybody else."

It's a little personal for Moore.

"I know his family, you know. He's just like family to me, really. I know his family. He knows my family. He is the type of coach I can trust and would like to be coached by."

Mississippi's fastest athlete said the hiring of Coach Nix will help Ole Miss' cause in the long run.

"It helps them a lot because Coach Nix was the one I have always wanted to coach me. Yeah, I would say it helps Ole Miss a whole lot."

Jaylen Walton
Last year the Rebels made a concerted effort to land the services of Tennessee running back in Jaylen Walton. Ole Miss gained an early commitment from the 2011 Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year but things were a little shaky after the staff he committed to was let go.'s No. 55 rated running back never de-committed but now that Ole Miss has retained the running back coach who recruited him since 9th grade, the commitment is much stronger.

"Coach Nix is a very good coach. I think it gives us the advantage to showcase our talents more. He's such a great coach and knows what it takes to get you to the next level. I must say it's a good thing for Ole Miss. Ole Miss has always been the school I wanted to go to, but I was a little disappointed that I was not going to be able to be coached by Coach Nix. Now that they are, I just can't tell you how happy I am. The relationship we have gives me more confidence to compete for the running back position. It should be fun being able to take coaching from Coach Nix and learn from the returning running backs."

Walton was visited by Southern Miss, Arkansas, along with Ole Miss, right before the start of the dead period. However, the Rebels are sitting in a good position.

"That's my school. That's where I'm signing. I got everything I want now that Coach Nix is coming back. It's the perfect fit for me. I'm going over there on my official visit on Jan. 20. I'm going to try and help them get the best class they can possibly get so we can win some championships while I'm there."

Walton is excited about the new offense at Ole Miss.

"The offense is dynamic and the system is made for me to be in the slot or running back. It's going to give me a chance to play in open spaces and that's what I do best."

The Memphis Ridgeway tailback rushed for 2,584 yards and 33 touchdowns this season and had over 3,110 all-purpose yards.

Sheldon Dawson
One of Memphis' top recruits was also glad to hear Ole Miss kept it's running back coach.

"That's really good news for me," said Sheldon Dawson. "Coach (Derrick) Nix was the one who always made me feel real comfortable when I went down there on my visits. I just like his coaching style and his demeanor on the sidelines during the games. I like how he treats his players. I'm really glad they kept coach Nix."

The decision to retain Coach Nix has helped it's cause with the the four-star recruit.

"Yes, it's big for me, because like I said he just makes me feel so comfortable while I'm down there. I'm sure they would have hired a good person for that position if it were not Coach Nix, so I wouldn't say that I would have scratched them off of my list or anything if they would have not kept Coach Nix, but at the same time I know what I'm getting now and that's a plus for me."

Dawson has visited the Ole Miss campus several times in the past and will be making the trek to Oxford again on the Jan. 20 with Walton, his teammate.

"I'm really looking forward to getting to know their coaches. We've talked on the phone some, and they have come up here to see me, but it's going to give me a chance to meet all of them at once. I also want to see how the players are and just get to know the town a little better. I'm looking forward to my visit."

Dawson has already visited Georgia and Cincinnati and has not scheduled anymore official visits outside of Ole Miss. He remains a soft commitment for Memphis.

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