Up Close: Bryan Dixon, Pt. I

The chances Bryan Dixon would end up a 2005 North Carolina commitment were pretty good all along -- at least in his mind. The Carolina coaches invited the South Columbus cornerback-tailback to a one-day camp in early June, at which time they still weren't certain Dixon would get an offer.

The coaching staff was already sold on Bryan Dixon's strength, quickness and 37-inch vertical jump. But it was the tenacity of his coverage on defense that prompted UNC coach John Bunting pull the trigger.

As Dixon and Stallions' coach Joey Price were getting ready to leave Chapel Hill, Bunting extended the offer.

Dixon didn't need to go home and discuss it with his family. He accepted immediately.

"My daddy always taught me to set goals ahead of myself," said the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Dixon. "He always told me to go for my dreams."

"We just broke camp," Price added. "Bryan was ready to verbally commit to them. All they had to do was offer."

As a junior, Dixon accumulated 965 rushing yards and 692 receiving yards.

"Bryan comes from a wonderful family, that is why his values are the way they are," Price said. "He's got a great mom and dad and good family support. He's just got all those work habits that you want in a kid. He's a ‘Yes sir, no sir' kind of guy to his parents.

"He's just put a lot of hard work into football."

Among Dixon's goals for college, he wants to break Dre' Bly's record of 20 career interceptions set from 1996-98. Then, if all goes as planned, it's off to the National Football League.

"I also want to be one of the strongest cornerbacks that's ever been there," said Dixon, who bench presses 315 pounds and can parallel squat 465 pounds. "I just want to be a great all-around player.

"Then there is another level after college, and I'm going to work hard to get there."

Playing football at the Division I level has always been a dream of Dixon's, since growing up idolizing his older brother, Anthony McClellan, a two-sport star that preceded Dixon to South Columbus.

"I saw him accomplish so much, I just wanted to be like him," Dixon said. "But I never could get an opportunity to do it because I was the youngest.

"I wanted to play football; that was my dream. So I started working hard when I was young to pursue my dream."

McClellan never did receive the Division I offer to play football that his younger brother did, one Dixon believed McClellan was well worthy of.

"I think he deserved it, but he never got it."

In between shifts at the Food Lion where he is working this summer, Dixon is lifting weights and staying well-conditioned.

"We work all around the off period," he said. "We worked out today."

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow…

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