As is usually the case at combines, the first thing that most scouts do is survey the scene to see who passes the eyeball test. It didn’t take long to find the most physically impressive player there and that just so happened to be Justin Dixon out of Smithfield-Selma (NC). The 6-2 230 lb standout middle linebacker is built for the position. He is a compact run-stopper who has “The Look” of a champion. But there are times when players look like Tarzan and play like Jane. Anybody who is remotely close to the game understands this phrase. Players look the part but just can’t get it done or they just won’t compete. Now I am going to ask you to pardon my intentional lapse in sound grammatical usage: That ain’t Justin Dixon.
Dixon turned out to be the complete package. He had all of the numbers to match his physique and he had the attitude to match “The Look”. I ended up coaching the LBs for the day so I was able to work with him (as well as many others I will discuss in a later story) and he is one of the most complete LBs I have seen on the circuit. In a field as deep as LBs are in the Southeast this year, this truly is a compliment. About the only knock on Dixon is that he was too physical.
Dixon is the Total Package at MLB
“I really enjoyed the camp but I wish we could have had contact. I love being physical.”
Just ask some of the TEs and RBs who were unlucky enough to draw Dixon in the 1 on 1 drills and they will be the first to tell you that he is telling the truth. Not one to back down from anybody all day, it became obvious that Dixon is a top-notch competitor.
“I really liked going against the competition today. It was good to see what I need to work on.”
While many of the players get caught up in the spirit of the competition and their verbal jabs are the hardest thing they throw all day, Dixon didn’t let himself get caught up in it. This was one of the most telling signs that he has the poise a great MLB must have when leading a defense.
Upon returning home, I was able to watch some film on Dixon. I was naturally curious to see if this seemingly infallible young man truly was the real deal. This just in…He was and he is. He plays inside out and doesn’t get caught up in the trash. He has the strength to work off of OL blocks and is an absolute nightmare for FBs. He also has the speed to lock down TEs and not be a liability against RBs.
Dixon stated after the combine that he is a solid commit to The University of North Carolina and the Tar Heels are getting a super player and a solid young man. He is a sponge who never stops learning and struck me as a genuine student of the game.
Look for great things from this young man who is a champion in every sense of the word.
Burke Hayes is the Southeastern Regional Manager for Football Recruiting at Scout.