Senior in Limbo

Although National Signing Day has come and gone, senior jumbo athlete Jamaal Dixon still doesn't know where he'll play this fall.

An uncertain academic situation, while playing in the relative obscurity of Gatesville (N.C.) Gates County, has put the football future of Dixon, a 6-foot-6, 255-pounder, in limbo.

"Right now, I'm on the edge of being eligible," Dixon said. "I just have to get a higher score on my SAT."

Dixon is registered to take the SAT again on March 14.

If he does receive a SAT score that makes him academically qualified, Dixon says he "thinks [he] would go to UNC."

"[Kenny Browning] told me that [if I get qualified] he'll let me know if [a scholarship offer] is still there for me," Dixon said. "If it's not, I'll just see where I can go."

If he doesn't become academically qualified, Dixon has four options: prepping at a post graduate school, accepting a scholarship to a junior college, going to a Division I-A school as a partial qualifier, or heading to a Division II program.

"I really haven't decided," Dixon said. "[Prepping at a post grad] would be a better deal, because I don't lose any eligibility. I was thinking about taking a scholarship from [a D2 school], because I really don't have to go through all the other stuff. But I really haven't decided yet."

Browning is trying to get Dixon to prep at least a semester at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy.

"[Browning] thinks that UNC would be a good school for me. But he is mostly trying to get me to play D1 ball anywhere," Dixon said. "He's trying to help me out. He recommended me to go to Hargrave. But he said when I get to Hargrave, if I decided not to go to UNC, that's on me. He's thinking about my future, not just making sure I go to UNC."

If Dixon decides to go the JuCo route, which would cut into his collegiate eligibility, Georgia Military Academy is the likely destination.

"I just recently had a visit to my house from Georgia Military," Dixon said. "They're trying to get me to go down there on an extended scholarship. I could go down there and play for their junior college for a couple of years."

East Carolina, which has also discussed the notion of enrolling as a partial qualifier, recommended Dixon to go to Georgia Military.

Dixon is already academically qualified to play for a Division II school. If he chooses that route, Fayetteville State, which recently had representatives at Gates County High, is the frontrunner.

The plan is to wait to receive the results from his March SAT testing before making any decisions.

In the meantime, Dixon and Browning have been working on scheduling an official visit to UNC.

"He told me to call him and let him know whenever I want to come down," Dixon said. "I couldn't come down this past week."

Each interested school is recruiting Dixon for a different position – UNC tight end and defensive end; Fayetteville State tight end; East Carolina offensive tackle; and Georgia Military defensive line.

Dixon was a four-year starter for Gates County. He played nose tackle as a freshman, and then played defensive tackle and nose tackle as a sophomore and junior, as well as right tackle on offense.

As a senior, Dixon was moved to tight end on offense, while playing end, tackle, and nose tackle on defense. He also lined up at fullback during short-yardage situations and accumulated roughly 25 all-purpose touchdowns. He was named to the all-conference team as a defensive lineman and led Gates County in tackles.

Dixon capped his high school career by playing defensive tackle for North Carolina in the Shrine Bowl.


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