Hawkeye sports columnist Chad Leistikow and reporter Danny Lawhon look at Iowa's matchup with Minnesota Rodney White/The Register


IOWA CITY, Ia. — Daviyon Nixon's life changed Tuesday.

When the Iowa Western freshman woke up Oct. 24, he was a firm Iowa pledge ready to move to Iowa City in December. When he fell asleep, he had an offer from Alabama and a whole lot to think about.

"I'm still committed to Iowa, so my heart right now is still at Iowa, as of right now," Nixon told HawkCentral on Wednesday. "But my mind is just going everywhere else right now. My mind is just putting everything together so far."

Here's how it all went down: Crimson Tide defensive line coach Karl Dunbar followed Nixon on Twitter on Tuesday, so he followed Dunbar back and immediately called his dad. While speaking with his dad, Nixon received a direct message from Dunbar asking if he was free for a phone call. Nixon called Dunbar later and received his full-ride scholarship offer.

A 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive lineman, Nixon had never heard from Alabama before Tuesday. Not a peep. Then, all of a sudden, the country's perennial football powerhouse wanted him.

"(Dunbar) said he saw my high school basketball film and my football film, and he saw some film from this year, as well, playing at Iowa Western," said Nixon, who was a three-star 2017 lineman out of Kenosha, Wisconsin. "And he said he just loved it.

"I asked him, 'Are you serious?' And he was like, 'Yeah. I'm serious.' He goes, 'Can you still run up a court and dunk a basketball?' I go, 'Yeah,' then he says, 'Well, why can't you do it at Alabama, then?'"

Dunbar also addressed Nixon's current Iowa pledge.

"Basically, we just talked about how, since I haven't picked any classes there, that I don't have to go there if I choose otherwise," Nixon said. "So since they offered me, I should just take my time and think about it."

Nixon, who has 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks this year, said he doesn't plan to make any decisions yet. He wants to focus on football and grades for the rest of Iowa Western's season. Then, he'll see if he can visit Iowa and Alabama. He said Nebraska and Michigan State have also reached out.

But most likely, Iowa's only competition here will be the Crimson Tide.

"At first I was kind of speechless," Nixon said of the offer. "I didn't know what to say. I was just sitting on the phone kind of in awe. Then I called my dad and I tried to be nonchalant about it. He's like, 'So what did they talk to you about?' And I said, 'Well this didn't really say much. They just kind of offered me a full-ride scholarship.' And he just starts screaming."

The Hawkeyes remained loyal to Nixon through his academic struggles. That's important. But there's nothing wrong with being enticed by Nick Saban and a defense that churns out NFL products. 

Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewBain_.