On Dec. 11, Colorado wide receiver K.D. Nixon announced that, “[a]fter much prayer and discussion,” he would be entering his name into the 2020 NFL Draft. Eight days later? Never mind.
For now, at least.
In a statement Thursday, Nixon abruptly and unexpectedly reversed course, announcing that he will no longer be a part of next April’s draft pool. Instead, and as he never signed with an agent, he will return to Colorado and play for the Buffaloes in 2020.
“After thoughtful evaluation and conversations with [head coach Mel] Tucker and others about my future in football – and beyond, I have decided to continue my college football career at Colorado, earn my degree and declare for the NFL Draft in 2021,” Nixon said in his statement. “I look forward to contributing to the Buffaloes next season and making a difference for our team.”
It should be noted that draft-eligible players have until Jan. 20 of next year to make themselves available for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Nixon was third on the Buffaloes this season with 35 receptions for 465 yards. His three receiving touchdowns were good for second on the team. A year ago, Nixon set career-highs with 52 catches, 636 yards and four touchdowns.
Prior to Nixon’s flip-flop, and with Tony Brown‘s expired eligibility and Laviska Shenault leaving early, Tucker and his offensive coaching staff would have been forced to replace 147 receptions (the team had 257), 1,936 yards (2,858) and 12 touchdown catches (18).
“Our goal is not only to build a championship-winning team and culture but also to prepare our players for life,” Tucker said in his statement. “Our entire team is excited that K.D. has decided to continue his education and play for the Buffaloes his senior year. We look forward to him being a difference-maker on and off of the field.”
Mel Tucker has already delivered a signature non-conference win over a ranked team, now the new Colorado head coach has his first signature conference win over a ranked team.
The Buffs survived the loss of superstar receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. after just two series to notch a surprising road victory over No. 24 Arizona State 34-31 in yet another thriller late at night in the Pac-12.
Bouncing back from a loss last week to Air Force, quarterback Steven Montez played fantastic for CU in throwing for 337 yards and three touchdowns in the upset. The veteran signal-caller didn’t seem to miss his All-American caliber wideout on the outside largely due to the play of opposite number Tony Brown, who turned in a career performance with 150 yards and all three of those scores through the air. K.D. Nixon added six catches for 98 yards as well as the passing game was clicking against a pretty stingy defense coming into the weekend.
Alex Fontenot chipped in with 89 yards rushing and a score despite being banged up himself on a night to remember in the conference opener for both sides.
Freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels did his best to keep the Sun Devils undefeated but it just wasn’t enough as he threw incomplete in the final two minutes to end any hope of a comeback. All told he threw for 345 yards, two scores and a pick while forming a lovely tandem with Brandon Aiyuk, who had 122 of those yards receiving plus a touchdown. Eno Benjamin was mostly bottled up on the ground to force the air show for ASU, with the all-Pac-12 tailback recording a below average 83 yards but finding the end zone twice.
The result left the Pac-12 South without any undefeated teams just four weeks into the 2019 campaign and a surprising USC squad atop the league standings in the division after their win on Friday night against Utah. The Utes and Sun Devils were the South’s only ranked teams but each lost on the same weekend while the Buffs could find themselves back in the polls as a result of the hard fought victory in Tempe.
Just another wild night in the Pac-12 it seems, something Tucker has apparently already gotten used to just four games into his tenure in the Flat Irons.