By Brian Hamilton, The Athletic
EUGENE, Ore. — Clear across the country, Bo Nix is on Park Avenue, arms aloft and spreading the word.
The word, specifically, is BODACIOUS. The ‘B’ and the ‘O’ are stacked and set off in green. Each is the size of a nation-state. The rest of the phrase runs from hand to outstretched hand above the torso of Oregon’s quarterback, his back turned so the world can see the name on the jersey. It gives the impression that the fifth-year senior holds everything together, which has its own metaphorical applications. But it also tells a story even bigger than a Heisman Trophy campaign billboard on display almost 3,000 miles from campus.
In a small conference room with glass walls, the actual Bo Nix appraises this outsize version of himself with deference. Didn’t even know it was real the first time he saw it, he says. It’s not like he’s the first Oregon quarterback to get a billboard in Manhattan, he says. Could’ve picked any of his teammates instead and they’d deserve it. An honor, naturally. “It’s just kind of shocking – like, wow, you’re in a position that that’s even possible,” Nix says. “I honestly never imagined myself being up on a billboard.”
And yet here he is, eye-level with possibility at last.
For the first three years of his collegiate career, Nix was a massive what-could-be, the striving five-star son of a former Auburn quarterback jousting with legacy and expectation. That knotty backstory unraveled with a transfer to Oregon and a 2022 season featuring 4,000-plus total yards, 40-plus touchdowns and a near 72 percent pass completion rate that led all power-conference quarterbacks. Turns out everything Nix went through was fed into a next-gen processor chip somewhere under his spiky blond coif, and out came arcade numbers. Finally. An unclouded mind guides the operation in Eugene. And the Ducks, ranked 15th in both the Associated Press and coaches preseason polls, follow the leader.
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