Keith Mixon had to wait a year but is now finally able to showcase his talents at Mississippi State.
Mixon made his collegiate debut two weeks ago and it made all the hard work during his redshirt season worth it.
“It feels great to be back on the field,” Mixon said. “I had to get mentally prepared to play and had to get back in the roll of things because I redshirted. It feels great to be back and actually play in the games.”
The Bulldogs have utilized Mixon’s talents in a couple of ways so far. He has caught two passes for four yards but also carried three times for 19 yards by motioning into the backfield and also on reverses.
“I did some stuff like that in high school,” Mixon said. “I played running back in high school and I feel way more comfortable getting the ball that way so I can make people miss.”
The 5-foot-8, 175-pounder from Birmingham, Alabama was the true definition of an all-purpose back at Shades Mountain High School. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau in both rushing and receiving and finished with 5,124 all-purpose yards and 66 touchdowns during his final two preps seasons.
Mixon spent most of his first year in Starkville simply learning how to be a receiver.
“I played some slot in high school but I was mostly a running back,” Mixon said. “When I got here, coach (Billy) Gonzales worked with me a lot and my route running got a lot better, got smarter and was able to read the defenses and got better at blocking. I can see a really big improvement in my game.”
Mixon was able to showcase his newly well-rounded talents during the spring in which he caught 17 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns during the Bulldogs’ three spring scrimmages which included a 36-yard scoring grab in the spring game.
“My role is to be a playmaker,” Mixon said. “If you put the ball in my hands I can make something happen. That’s how I feel I can produce on the team. I had a pretty good spring and made some plays and that opened coach (Dan) Mullen and coach G’s eyes.”
Now that MSU has settled its quarterback controversy and settled in on sophomore Nick Fitzgerald as the starter, Mixon believes that will help steady some instability and uncertainty the offense had going into the year.
“Nick Fitz is good and a great runner,” Mixon said. “He’s got some great vision and can also pass. Just having him as the starter now, we’ll know what to expect and there won’t be any confusion. We won’t be thinking too hard about who’s going to be the starter so that’s good.”
Mixon will make his first road trip this weekend as the Bulldogs travel to the Bayou to take on LSU. He has heard horror stories about playing at Tiger Stadium at night and will get to take in Death Valley for the initial time.
“This will be my first time to ever go to LSU, I never took a visit there or anything,” Mixon said. “I’m excited about going down there. They say it’s crazy and I’m ready to experience it.”