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Auburn DT Derrick Brown, QB Bo Nix win SEC awards while giving glory to Christ

Defensive tackle Derrick Brown has had a tremendous season as the anchor of the Auburn Tigers’ defensive line, and on Wednesday he was rewarded for his efforts by being named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by the conference’s coaches.

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“Man, only God knew what it took just to have this opportunity,” Brown tweeted after he had received the news.

Brown, who was also named SEC DPOY by the Associated Press this week, was a disruptive force in the trenches all season long. The senior recorded 50 total tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles, all while regularly drawing double teams from opposing offensive lines. He helped lead an Auburn defense that finished in the nation’s top 15 for the fewest points allowed.

And Brown wasn’t the only Auburn Tiger to win an SEC honor on Wednesday.

Freshman QB Bo Nix also took home the Freshman of the Year Award. He passed for 2,366 yards and 15 touchdowns while adding another 301 yards and seven scores on the ground. He ended his freshman season with only six interceptions.

Together, Brown and Nix helped Auburn to a 9-3 record, which included a comeback win over Oregon to open the year and a thrilling victory over archrival Alabama in the Iron Bowl to close out the regular season.

Brown and Nix are also both outspoken about Jesus. Brown appeared on the Sports Spectrum Podcast a month ago to tell his story of football and faith.

“At the end of the day, I’m trying to please Him in all that I do,” Brown said on the podcast.

He continued later: “I know that there’s one God and He’s always going to love me for who I am, but also you want to be able to work and take advantage of every single opportunity that He lays in front of you.”

Brown will graduate from Auburn on Saturday with a long list of athletic and academic accolades. He is poised to be a high pick in April’s NFL Draft and he is busy raising a young son. Yet when Brown begins to feel overwhelmed by the many obligations that seem to pile up, he said he turns to God to give him peace and strength.

Nix was also a guest on the podcast as an Alabama high schooler in August 2018, when he revealed that his favorite Bible verse is Colossians 3:23 — “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

“I think that’s really important, understanding and knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing,” Nix said. “You know that He gave you all the talent that you have, and doing anything else besides that would disrespect Him in the long run.”

Nix proudly cites Colossians 3:23 in his Twitter bio. As for Nix’s leadership qualities that helped spur Auburn on to a successful season, Nix again credits his faith.

“Whether it’s leading them on the field or off the field, just setting that example, being that role model that they would look up to,” Nix said on the podcast. “Trying to do the right thing all the time when I’m around them and help them to know that it’s not weird or different to be different and do what’s right and be a Christ-follower.”

The senior Brown, the freshman Nix and their Auburn Tigers will play the Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-2) in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET on New Year’s Day.

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