Signee Update: Justin Dixon

The departure of assistant coach Tommy Thigpen was a surprise to many at North Carolina. UNC signee Justin Dixon, who was recruited by Thigpen and assumed Thigpen would be his position coach, was hit especially hard.

"That was my man," Dixon said. "He's still my man and we still communicate. He talked to me afterward and told me he had to do what was best for his family – you've got to respect that.

"With me and Thigpen it wasn't just about football. It was about a friendship that we built. He was a cool coach. When I talk to him now it's about how he's doing and how his family is doing."

Dixon, a 6-foot-1, 231-pound linebacker from Smithfield (N.C.) Smithfield-Selma, is now attempting to build a similar relationship with Thigpen's replacement, Art Kaufman.

Dixon was introduced to Kaufman during UNC's Spring Game, but didn't receive an opportunity to talk one-on-one. Since then, though, Dixon and Kaufman have been in constant contact.

"He's just introducing himself and we're getting to know each other," Dixon said.

Kaufman hasn't yet discussed the game plan for Dixon for his first season on campus.

"If I red-shirt, then I red-shirt," Dixon said. "But if I play, I know what I'm capable of."

After his football season concluded, Dixon participated in winter track, where he ran the 100-meter dash and threw the shot-put for Smithfield-Selma. However, he later quit the team to focus on his academic situation, which currently projects him as a non-qualifier.

"I'm not even worried about [qualifying]," Dixon said. "I'm in the books, right now. I'm going to definitely get that taken care of."

This Saturday, Dixon is scheduled to re-take the SAT. Also, he's currently taking a couple of core classes.

In case Dixon doesn't qualify, UNC has already discussed the possibility of sending him to Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy for a semester. Dixon has already had a conversation with Hargrave's head football coach Robert Prunty.

"[Prunty] is a cool guy," Dixon said. "I communicate with him a little bit just in the last few weeks. If I don't get into [UNC], I wouldn't mind playing for him."

If Dixon doesn't qualify, his recruitment could open back up.

"I talked to my man Thigpen and he told me if I go [to Hargrave], [Auburn] is going to come after me – he's going to come after me," Dixon said.

Dixon maintained he's committed to UNC, though admitted that he would be willing to listen to other schools' pitches.

"I'm a Tar Heel – that's all I can say," Dixon said. "But I can't predict the future."

Justin Dixon Profile

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