COUGAR TRACKS

If BYU Senior Dalton Nixon Plays Football, Mark Pope Knows He Will Bring ‘Winning Attitude’

May 15, 2020, 12:19 AM | Updated: 8:15 am
Dalton Nixon - BYU...
Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – It’s not often you see basketball players move over from the hardwood to the football gridiron at any point in their collegiate careers. We might lucky enough to see it this fall at BYU — assuming there’s going to be a season — in senior athlete Dalton Nixon.

Nixon, the “heart and soul” of this past season’s BYU basketball team that was 24-8 and ranked No. 18 in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll has been considering a move to football and could become BYU’s version of Greg Paulus or Tony Gonzalez. Young people, Google those names if you’re not familiar.

Nixon, who saw his eligibility in college basketball exhausted after a broken fibula injury and the novel Coronavirus pandemic suspending all college sports. Still, Nixon has the chance to play in a fall sport at BYU. Joining the BYU football team appears to be the target for Nixon where he would possibly play at tight end. A move he’s been mulling over since the wintertime.

Will he do it? No one knows for sure. But one individual, BYU basketball coach Mark Pope, knows Nixon will have success in whatever he ends up doing.

Mark Pope on Dalton Nixon possibly playing for BYU Football

“First of all, I don’t know anything about football. I limped off my last football field when I was in third grade. So I know nothing about the game (laughs). But I do know a lot about Dalton Nixon,” Pope said to KSL Sports.

“Most importantly, I know what’s inside this kid and his heart and his commitment to a team. So, if it works out and it works for Kalani (Sitake) and the roster and the team and the coaching staff for Dalton Nixon to be on this team, I have 100 percent confidence beyond any doubt imaginable that he’ll be an incredible addition to this team. In terms of bringing a special winning attitude to everything they do. It sure would be fun to see him out there playing if it’s possible. He’s also got a really bright future in basketball. He’s got a lot of exciting things ahead of him and it’ll be exciting to see how he puts it all together.”

Nixon was a leader and a non-stop worker for BYU hoops. Anything Mark Pope’s squad needed to win a game, Nixon was probably doing that and most of it didn’t show up in the box score. Former BYU head coach Dave Rose said on multiple occasions during the basketball season that “Dalt” was making “winning plays” for his team every night. You could see it just by the number of times Nixon was willing to sacrifice himself for the betterment of the team.

Don’t count out Nixon

The tight end position is one where BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes has spoken highly of with All-American candidate Matt Bushman returning for his senior year along with a handful of young, promising prospects in Isaac Rex, Carter Wheat, Hank Tuipulotu, Masen Wake, and Bentley Hanshaw. So it might be tough for Nixon to find an opportunity at that spot.

But very few athletes have the work ethic of a guy like Nixon. The man was named an NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) All-American athlete earlier this month for his work this past year at BYU.

If the numbers work out in Sitake’s football roster, don’t count out a guy like Dalton Nixon and what he could bring to a locker room. Let’s see it happen.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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