"Redshirting was a humbling experience," said Mixon. " All freshmen think they are going to come in and play right off the bat. That was my mindset. But when I finally got here, all the meetings and the workouts, I saw it was actually real and not high school anymore. I was trying to learn the playbook and work with Coach (Gonzales) to build my confidence. But I realized it was very different from high school to college."
The most difficult thing that he had to deal with was learning the offense and playbook.
"Learning the playbook was probably the hardest thing for me to learn because I had to try and remember the offense, the formations," said Mixon. "I also had to learn the different snap counts and the different plays that we can audible to. It was hard for me to get all of that so I knew then that redshirting was a good decision for me."
The physical size of the players was another thing that he had to deal with.
"You also have the physical aspect of it," said Mixon. "I came in at 165 to 170 pounds and the (veterans) were huge. I saw at practice that they were all big and fast. So, I knew I had to get in the weight room before I could step on the field and play."
Getting adjusted to college football is difficult by itself but Mixon also had to deal with being a college student. The combination of the two was tough to deal with.
"Playing football and also being a student is difficult," said Mixon. "But we have Logan (Link), who is our academic advisor, to help us and I have study hall every day."
It took a few months but he finally started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel during the spring.
"It all came together last spring because I think I had a pretty good spring on the field and in the classroom," said Mixon. "I had a lot more confidence in the spring than I did when I first stepped foot on campus. And I was much more comfortable with the coaches and really everybody around me. I didn't feel like a freshman any longer."
Reflecting back on his redshirt year, he now understands why his position coach was so tough on him.
"When I first got here it was tough because I felt like Coach G was picking on me but I realize now he saw the potential in me," said Mixon.
Mixon knows there is still a lot of potential left in him that he hopes to get out as he continues to learn and work hard.
"I still have a lot more to learn, a lot more to do such as getting better at route-running," said Mixon. "I feel like where I am now is good for this season, but come next season when Fred Ross is gone somebody has to step up. So, I need to step up my game."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.