Bo Nix realized dream at Auburn. Oregon prepared him for Broncos spotlight.

There was always a football field where Bo Nix allowed himself to dream.

Nix watched the games, and then carried his passion into the grass behind his house in South Carolina and Alabama, mimicking the plays, running and throwing, his goals gently coming into focus without him really knowing it.

“It was always Auburn. No matter where our dad was coaching, it was always Auburn. It was us pretending to be Auburn vs. whoever they played the day before,” said Caleb Nix, Bo’s younger brother. “It was an imaginary game.”

As the Nix family watched Bo pose for pictures inside the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse on Friday, holding an orange jersey, reality clobbered them over the head. The son, the brother, the husband, the kid who once worked as a ball boy at Charleston Southern was a Denver Bronco.

The last time Nix was in Colorado, he and his father spoke at a local church over the summer. Now, their prayers were answered.

“It’s surreal. It’s one of those special moments for him. He grew up playing football, and when you do that, you dream of playing in the NFL. As a dad, you want to see your kids reach their dreams, so now here it is,” father, Patrick Nix, told JS. “For the longest time, you go through the mock drafts and the speculation; it’s real now.”

Patrick provided the script for his son’s goals through his profession, through old highlights. Dad played quarterback at Auburn from 1992 to ’95, helping the Tigers go 11-0 in 1993. Bo followed, playing for Auburn. If Disney was writing the script, this is where the story would show him getting carried off the field, holding a trophy in The Plains as credits rolled.

Instead, Auburn was a layover, a lesson. What happened there made Bo stronger and turned him into a legend at Oregon, about as far away culturally and geographically from his roots as imaginable.

As such, Nix, drafted 12th overall by the Broncos on Thursday night, arrived in Denver with purpose and focus. For months identified as a cerebral and athletic fit for coach Sean Payton’s offense, Nix is ready to compete for the starting job for a franchise that has been yearning for success since Peyton Manning retired.

“I think experience is one of the best teachers, really in anything. The more you do something, the better you should get at it. Whatever happens, I know that I’m around a great support staff; I’m around great coaches who have been doing this at a high level for a very long time,” Nix said. “I’m going to be able to take it all in, learn as much as I possibly can, grow as much as I possibly can, so I can give that to my teammates, and I can give that to this organization.”

Growing up as QB

Pressure is nothing new for Nix. By the time he reached eighth grade, he was a star waiting for a uniform. He made the varsity team. After his sophomore year, he followed his father to Pinson Valley High School and became the top dual-threat quarterback in the nation. He won back-to-back state titles and was named Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year.

There was no question where he would go. At Auburn, he was embraced, viewed as the Tigers’ version of Tim Tebow. He rallied Auburn to a victory over Oregon in his first game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. That might have been his most memorable game for Auburn, certainly his most memorable season.

Quarterback Bo Nix (10) of the Auburn Tigers tries to escape pressure as he is sacked by Quay Walker (7) of the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Oct. 09, 2021 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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