COFFEYVILLE, Kan. - Just minutes after two of the nation's top junior college linebackers finished battled on the field here Sunday and seconds before they shook hands for the first time, one sized things up rather well for the University of Arkansas.
That would be Hutchinson's David Dixon (6-2, 235), whose team had just lost 44-10 to Coffeyville's Dontrell Moore (6-2, 225) in Kansas Jayhawk Conference semifinal playoff game that was tied 10-10 at halftime.
Both are coveted by the Razorbacks, who have acknowledged that they are looking for some older guys that can play right away on defense next season.
"If we both end up at Arkansas, we would most definitely turn that defense around and take it to another level - a national championship type level," Dixon said. "He's a heck of a player and we were both out here today making plays from sideline to sideline. That would most definitely be a great deal."
Coffeyville travels to Butler County this Sunday for a 1:30 p.m. championship game while Hutchinson waits around for a couple of weeks to see if it gets invited to one of seven junior college bowl games.
Although official stats were available before press time, Dixon - who averaged a league leading 17.6 tackles per game this season - unofficially had 15 tackles with a couple of sacks.
Moore had around 8 tackles with three sacks, including two big fourth quarter ones for the Red Ravens that shut the door on the Blue Dragons. He also forced one fumble and recovered another.
Both handed out several bone-rattling hits on opposing ballcarriers and earned each other's respect.
"He (Dixon) is a great, fast linebacker who brings it every play just like I try to," Moore said. "You can tell he plays with passion and a love for the game. He loves football and does whatever he can to win."
Both have Arkansas as the leader in the clubhouse, something validated again by their statements on Sunday.
Dixon, who will visit Arkansas in January, will begin his official visits with one to Kansas State on Nov. 19-21. He's also considering Oklahoma and Nebraska.
"Like I was saying early, I really love the Razorbacks and they are my leader," Dixon said. "In fact, my mom likes them, too, and if we both agree that's the best choice, I'll be a Razorback."
Dixon, a former Beaumont, Texas prep standout who is nimble enough to also return punts and kickoffs, has been interested in Arkansas for awhile.
"I have been watching Arkansas since my senior year in high school," Dixon said. "I just really like those guys. They have a young team, but they come out every week and hustle and bust their butt. If you beat Arkansas you are going to have to come with your A game. It's been on my mind about how I think I can go in there and be an asset right away."
Hutchinson head coach Craig Jersild says someone's going to get a great player in Dixon, a preseason All-American who led the KJCCC in tackles this season.
"He's a special guy," Jersild said. "Athletically, he's a freak. He can do everything. But I think his best asset is his competitiveness. I can't say enough great things about him."
Moore, a mid-term graduate who will be able to go through spring practice, will visit Arkansas later this month. He is also looking at Kansas State, LSU, Colorado and Nebraska.
"Arkansas is my leader and I can't wait to get up there and check out everything," Moore said. "They've showed me a lot of love and that means a lot to me."
Coffeyville head coach Jeff Leiker knows he's got a winner.
"He can run, he can chase the play and because he's a very physical player he can make you aware of when he gets there," Leiker adds. "He means business out there. That's what he brings to the table."
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