"I made promises to my family," he says, gritting his teeth. "I feel like my back is against the wall."
"It's like scholarship or bust for me."
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior defensive end is the third-leading tackler for the Hawklets. A de facto captain for Coach Tony Severino's squad, he's logged six sacks and a defensive touchdown in leading The Rock into the postseason.
"I just want to get back to that state game," he trails off. "I still remember being there in 2010 and watching those guys, how hard they worked."
"It would mean so much to me to have my name up there."
An explosive player off the edge with 4.5 speed in the 40 yard dash, Nix has been a playmaker throughout his senior campaign. But his chance could have come sooner.
"My freshman year, I was unlucky—my grades, football, it was all going wrong," he said, still frustrated years later. "I got kicked off the team."
"Coach said he didn't know if I was playing for myself or the team, but he welcomed me back and gave me a shot sophomore year."
After earning the opportunity to start as a junior, Nix injured his hamstring and only played in four games. What was supposed to be the year he made a name for himself in the metro ended in disappointment.
"I only played in like the last three or four games, and it wasn't enough," he says, the frustration evident in his voice. "That's why nobody really knows about me. They say I'm a ‘sleeper.'"
Talking with Nix, he's clearly a team-first guy. But he understands he only has so many opportunities to show prospective college coaches what he can do. He's drawn interest from Northern Illinois, Arkansas, Illinois, Emporia State, South Dakota State, and Northwest Missouri State. He's visited Kansas and Missouri already, and a visit to one of the service academies is likely in his future.
"I'm pretty sure I'm going to take a visit to Army," he says, proudly. "The perks of the academy—the discipline, being a student-athlete and a soldier, you get to be a totally different person. Other people in college don't get that experience."
An introspective young man with a deep respect for the game, Nix is truly himself when he's between the white lines.
"Football gives me the feeling where I can vent and be the aggressive me," Nix says, smiling. "It's my proving ground. That's the reason I do this, the reason I play football."
Even with his focus on the Hawklets' ultimate goal as they head into their first playoff game Friday night against Lee's Summit, the drive for his first scholarship offer is always in the back of his mind.
"It's about winning that ring, about leaving a legacy," he says. "I love Rockhurst. We're doing it for the coaching staff, but I'm doing it for me and my teammates. Nobody knows that feeling, and we want to know what it's like, to be at the top of the top, the big, top dogs."
"But throughout the year, I'm auditioning for a college team, and I have to keep that mentality. I know where I need to be, and if I can achieve that, I will be as happy as ever."