Former Auburn quarterback Bo Nix will transfer to Oregon to finish out his college career, he posted on his social media account Sunday evening. A three-year starter for the Tigers, Nix announced his move out West about a week after entering the transfer portal.
Nix’s 2021 season was cut short by a broken ankle he suffered in a November loss to Mississippi State, forcing him to miss the final two regular-season games against South Carolina and Alabama — both losses for the Tigers.
Nix arrives at Oregon along with with two years of eligibility remaining along with new coach Dan Lanning, Georgia’s former defensive coordinator who was hired to replace Mario Cristobal after he left for the same job at Miami. The Ducks will be in search of a new starting quarterback in 2022 following the departure of Anthony Brown, who started every game in 2021.
The son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix, Bo started for Auburn as a true freshman in 2019 after joining the program as a five-star recruit and the No. 1 dual threat quarterback in his recruiting class. Nix led Auburn to a 9-4 record that season, capping things off with an Iron Bowl win over Alabama. For his efforts, Nix was named the SEC Freshman of the Year.
Nix struggled to recreate that magic over his next two seasons, however. Auburn entered 2020 with high hopes, but the offense ended up ranked in the bottom half of the SEC in scoring and total offense, resulting in the team firing coach Gus Malzahn. In 10 starts this past season, Nix threw for 2,294 yards and 11 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
Reunited with a familiar face
A big reason why NIx may have transferred to Oregon was to reunite with new Ducks offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kenny Dillingham, who held the same position at Auburn during Nix’s freshman season. Dillingham departed for Florida State in 2020 and Nix was never able to improve upon the numbers he put togethers as a freshman.
Nix caught fire this past season in a 24-19 win over LSU — one week after being benched against Georgia State — in which he totaled 329 yards of offense and two touchdowns. In that game, Nix seemed far more comfortable making plays with his feet and taking chances down the field. While consistency has never been Nix’s strongest quality, he has been at his best when allowed to improvise. Perhaps a new setting with a familiar face will help bring out the best in Nix’s game.
Ducks QB battle wide open
Even though Nix will transfer to Oregon as an experienced signal-caller, that doesn’t guarantee he’ll get the starting job in 2022. Oregon just went through an entire season with Anthony Brown — another mobile, experienced QB originally from Boston College — with mixed results. Brown certainly had his moments, such as the 35-28 win over Ohio State early this season, but he also had plenty of shaky performances.
In many ways, Nix has a similar game to Brown. He can wow you one moment with his mobility and play-making ability. And then the next moment he’s throwing an ill-advised interception. The Bo Nix experience has a lot of highs and lows, and Lanning will have to determine whether those highs are enough to start him over Ty Thompson. Though a heralded four-star quarterback in the 2021 class, Thompson appeared in just three games and attempted 15 passes. Still, a new coaching staff means a clean slate for everyone.
Nix transfer goes full circle
Nix actually made his collegiate debut against then-No. 5 Oregon in Week 1 of the 2019 season. In the 27-21 win for Auburn, Nix threw for 177 yards, two touchdowns and two picks, while rushing for another 42 yards on the ground. Nix faced off on the opposite sideline from future first-round draft pick Justin Herbert in that game.