For a team like the Colorado Buffaloes who aren’t (yet?) perennially occupying the Top 25 in recruiting rankings, having players who can contribute in a multitude of ways is vital to the success of the program. That versatility is a big reason why our #20 most important Buffalo is sophomore wide receiver K.D. Nixon.
Nixon gave his verbal commitment to the Buffaloes just over a year and a half ago, on October 28th of 2016. The Buffs beat out Arizona State, Baylor, Cal, Duke, Utah, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, and Louisville, among many others, for the four-star receiver out of DeSoto, Texas. When Nixon’s commitment became official, our own Jack Barsch had this to say.
Nixon just finds a way to blow up the game. Out of the backfield, in the slot, returning a punt, K.D can and will take it all the way to the end zone. He has shiftyness [sic], agility, strength to break through arm tackles, and that intoxicating SPEEEEEEEED. He will play early for the Buffs, and in a few ways. He will compete immediately for kickoff returns and punt returns, and he is too explosive to keep on the bench for all season on offense.
Barsch’s projections proved to be spot on. In his true freshman season at Colorado, Nixon found numerous ways to make an impact. He played in all 12 games of the season, catching two passes for 17 yards and rushing three times for 20 yards. Even with those limited touches he was still able to earn three first downs, two coming via the rush.
His biggest contributions came on special teams. Nixon returned 11 kickoffs for an average of 23.7 yards, the highest on the team. His 34-yard return in the season finale against Utah was the longest of the season for any Buffalo.
Additionally, he added on two unassisted tackles, one assisted tackle, three knockdown or springing blocks, forced seven fair catches was credited with being the first downfield on a kickoff or punt that altered the return path seven times and had one punt pressure. Pretty big special teams impact for a 5’8, 180 lb. freshman.
In 2018 the Buffaloes will be trying to get Nixon involved in even more ways. Expect to see both his reception and rush numbers take a big leap and it’s expected that he will be the primary kickoff returner. He has speed to burn and has the perfect game to step on the field and put the defense back on its heels. He represents a step up in the overall level of athlete that the program has begun to see more and more in the post-Embree and early MacIntyre years and his contributions will make a big impact this season.