Coach Speak: Nix Looking to Sign One

Derrick Nix is entering his 9th season as the running back coach for the University of Mississippi. "Bull", as he is called by family and friends, believes his unit has what it takes for SEC play.

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Akeem Judd is the only senior in the running back group that coach Nix has in his room. That leaves one hole to plug in the upcoming class.

"Yea is a definite number," Nix said. "It could possibly be two. It just depends on the needs at other positions for us. But we are definitely going to sign at least one running back in this class."

What style of running back is he hoping to add to the mix next season?

"I'm being selfish but I'm looking for the biggest, fastest and quickest guy that I can get that can catch the ball out of the backfield. I just want a good all around tailback that can catch the ball, and protect that can run between the tackles. I want him to be able to get the big play too. I know I'm asking for a lot but that's the position we are in. We feel like we have a great group in my room, and we are looking to add just one more big time back."

What are the main attributes that Ole Miss looks for in a tailback?

"A guy that is quick through the hole and win some one-on-one battles. A guy that can move the chains. If the play is not blocked perfectly he can still get us out of a negative play. He can catch the ball out of the backfield if he needs to. He can line up at receiver if he needs to. Of course you have to be able to pick up the blitz for us."

The Rebels brought in 4-Star RB D'Vaughn Pennamon this season. So far, he's been everything they were hoping for and more.

""Blue" is a big back that can make big runs for you. He's a guy that is going to fall forward. He's going to be a heavy guy that runs hard and strong. We have been really pleased with his progress. He's going to push a lot of the veterans but that's a good thing. D'Vaughn just needs to continue picking up the system. I think he's got a chance to be a really good back for us. What I love about Blue is that he is always trying to be a pleaser. Pennamon has such a great attitude. A team first attitude."

The Rebels were loaded with scat backs in the past under Nix as he has carried the likes of Dexter McCluster, Jeff Scott, and Jaylen Walton's of the world. Smaller backs who were super quick and could make the big play. The past few recruiting classes have seen that trend reverse with bigger backs like D'Vaughn Pennamon, Akeem Judd, Eric Swinney, and Jordan Wilkins. Is that by design or coincidence?

"I wouldn't say per say. When I get guys in camp, and I recruit them, the number one thing I'm looking for is a guy with some speed and quickness. A guy that can read blocks and have natural running skills. Then I look for size. Two of the most productive running backs I've had at Ole Miss are Dexter McCluster and Jeff Scott and they are smaller. That part of it, I guess you could say that it was necessarily by design. I was just looking for the best possible prospect. They just happened to be bigger backs as of late."


Ole Miss Spirit's Take:

It's no secret that the Rebels are eying 5-Star Cam Akers as it's center piece to the offensive class. The Clinton star possesses all of the qualities that Derrick Nix mentioned above. He's big, elusive, has game breaking speed, and can catch the ball out of the backfield.

The nation's No. 4 prospect will be on display at South Panola Thursday night.


Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at



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