Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominee (2017), Wuerffel Trophy Watch List
“We will go out to any school out there and talk to young kids who may not have sight, vision, or direction, and show them and give them hope that they can go to college.”
Shaun Nixon had a plan when he arrived at TCU.
The highly-touted student-athlete, a big-time get for the Horned Frogs, was ready to make his mark on the football field. What wasn’t in his plans? Two ACL tears, the second keeping him from seeing the field for the entire 2016 football season. However, his time away from the field allowed him to pursue his true passion: giving back to the community.
“When something like that happens to you as an athlete, that’s rock bottom,” said friend and teammate Michael Carroll. “Shaun felt so lost with himself. But he put his ego to the side and kind of surrendered himself like, ‘hey, I need help.’ We all make changes in our lives, but to see Shaun’s growth … there’s something different that everybody can see, and people do.”
Nixon, inspired by a few teammates who had launch a program called Strong Players are Reaching Kids (S.P.A.R.K.), wanted to use his own experiences to become a role model for kids in the area who needed that mentorship.
“We will go out to any school out there and talk to young kids who may not have sight, vision, or direction, and we try to instill some of that in them and show them and give them hope that they can go to college,” said Nixon. “A lot of times, kids think they can’t go because either they’re not good at school or they don’t have the money. So what we do is come in and instill some morals and values and tell them it is possible.”
Nixon, along with Carroll and teammate Kenny Hill, are passionate about making a difference in the community. That idea doesn’t stop with youth; recently, the friends have started brainstorming ideas about how to help the homeless community in the Fort Worth area.
“Shaun’s growth … there’s something different that everybody can see, and people do.”
“We were giving out tacos to people who had come to the baseball game. We got the idea of ‘why don’t we go down to the homeless shelter and give these out to people?’ We went down there and so many people came out and said ‘thank you for this.’
“So we got together and thought ‘what should we do for these people? Let’s make some more tacos.’ So we put our money together, we had some friends that came over and we bought utensils, put some tacos together and went back there, and they loved it,” he said.
People have started taking notice of what Nixon is doing off of the field; he was recently named as an Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominee and is on the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List, an award given annually to the college football player “who best combined exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”
For Nixon, however, the greatest thing about giving back is the joy it brings to those he helps.
“When you see the look on their faces and how happy they are … this is a real feeling for me. It makes you want to keep doing it. It’s not for recognition, not for money or anything like that. It’s just the beauty of them being thankful for what you are giving them. It makes you feel like no other in the world, so it’s something that we want to continue doing,” he said.
Nixon is expected to have a significant impact on the TCU offense this season, but it is what he continues to do off of the football field that makes head coach Gary Patterson so proud.
“He understands what he wants to do with his life, a lot more than some of the other kids his age,” said Patterson. “To give monetarily and of your time to help kids that are less fortunate, you have to take your hat off and you have to really respect what they do. It’s fun to watch them grow and to see how they help others become successful.”