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Daviyon Nixon declares for NFL Draft after becoming Iowa's 27th consensus all-American


Chad Leistikow   | Hawk Central

Little by little, the expansive All-American Room in Iowa’s Hansen Football Performance Center is running out of wall space.

On Wednesday, Daviyon Nixon became the 27th player in Hawkeye football history to earn consensus all-American status when he was named a first-team all-America defensive tackle by the Football Writers Association of America.

A player needs to gain first-team status on at least three of five specific all-America teams to clinch “consensus” distinction. And Nixon is now 3-for-3 — having pocketed first-team honors from the FWAA, Sporting News and Associated Press — with the American Football Coaches Association team on deck Thursday and the Walter Camp being revealed Jan. 7.

The honor clears the way for Nixon’s portrait to be hung in Iowa’s All-American Room (where the team in non-pandemic years dines together), along with the likes of Nile Kinnick, Alex Karras, Chuck Long and Tim Dwight. Consensus all-America status isn’t easy to come by, yet Nixon is the sixth Hawkeye to achieve that honor in the past seven seasons. He joins offensive tackle Brandon Scherff (2014), defensive back Desmond King (2015), defensive back Josh Jackson (2017), linebacker Josey Jewell (2017) and kicker Keith Duncan (2019) as recent additions.

Of that group, Nixon’s story most closely parallels that of Jackson. Both players spent their previous season as backups before exploding onto the scene as a redshirt junior. Jackson, in 2017, raked in eight interceptions (including three in a memorable win against Ohio State) and wound up leaving school early for the NFL Draft, where he became a second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers.

Nixon, likewise, had a dominant redshirt junior season in which he led the Big Ten Conference with 13 tackles for loss (including 5½ sacks) in just eight games from a position not traditionally known for gaudy numbers. Nixon’s signature play of the season was his 71-yard interception-return touchdown at Penn State, a display of good hands and surprising elusiveness and speed from a man who measures 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds.

Nixon on Wednesday revealed that he would follow Jackson's path. The Big Ten defensive player of the year \was recently tabbed by ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. as the top draft-eligible defensive tackle in the nation and the No. 10 overall prospect. Last year, former Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs was slotted a four-year deal worth a guaranteed $16.3 million as the No. 13 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I have grown, developed and learned so much being an Iowa Hawkeye and I cannot wait to see what this new chapter brings,” Nixon wrote on social media.

Nixon was one of five finalists for the Nagurski Trophy (given to the top defensive player in the country) and is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top interior lineman. That honor will be handed out (virtually) as part of The Home Depot College Football Awards show Jan. 7 on ESPN.

Also Wednesday, Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum was named a second-team all-America center by the FWAA. The sophomore is a Rimington Award finalist.