Target 2005: Bryan Dixon

TABOR CITY, N.C. – A big reason South Columbus finished 11-2 before falling to Burlington Cummings in the third-round of the state playoffs last season was junior tailback-cornerback Bryan Dixon.

Bryan Dixon, 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, already has an offer from Duke to play offense and an offer from East Carolina to play defense. However, UNC assistant Hal Hunter has made several visits to his school, and John Bunting has talked to him on the phone.

"Carolina has always been one of the top schools I've always wanted to play at," Dixon told Inside Carolina at his school on Monday. "I'm ready to play if that's where I can get going to."

Dixon, who is also interested in N.C. State, Clemson, Wake Forest and Maryland, ran for 995 yards and tallied about 700 yards receiving, at about a 24 yards per catch clip in 2003.

He reached the end zone 25 times on offense.

"And that was mostly just playing in the first halves of games," said Stallions coach Joey Price, a 14-year coaching veteran.

On the other side of the ball, Dixon tallied three interceptions, and ran one back all the way, and that was with opposing quarterbacks hardly ever throwing his way, Price said. He also returned punts and played on special teams' coverage units.

"He never came off the field," Price said, "except I didn't have him return kickoffs, because I didn't want people getting a free shot at him."

Dixon consistently runs the 40-yard dash in the 4.4-second range and had his vertical leap measured at 37 inches.

Dixon and Price will be in Kenan Stadium this Saturday to attend Carolina's Spring Game. Their principal, Richard Gore, a die-hard UNC fan, said if he were the one transporting Dixon, he would talk him into committing to the Tar Heels before they ever arrived in Chapel Hill.

According to South Brunswick coach Troy Kessinger, Dixon is one of the top three players in the Waccamaw 2-A conference, with East Bladen WR/DE Marquis Melvin and his own WR Scott Long as the other two.

"He's a player," Kessinger said of Dixon.

Melvin, who openly wanted to play for Carolina, committed to Duke last week after its staff offered first. The Tar Heels may not want to wait on Dixon. Of course, verbal commitments are non-binding, and UNC may still attempt to change Melvin's mind at a later date.

Long is also a UNC prospect, but missed all but two games last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee.

"He's got good work habits and he's just an all-around athlete," Price said of Dixon. "He's got great size and speed – speed especially – and he's got great hips. He's extremely strong in the weight room and he's got great character."

Dixon bench presses 315 pounds and can parallel squat 465 pounds.

"He's talked to Coach Hunter a few times," said Price. "Everybody in college has got good coaches, you can't just go by wins and losses. I honestly think Coach Bunting is an outstanding individual.

"It used to be that North Carolina got all of the in-state athletes. Educationally, UNC is about as good as you're going to get in this state."

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