The Early Bucks: Johnnie Dixon

Seven Ohio State recruits in the class of 2014 have enrolled early, which sounds like the makings of a week-long series to us. With that in mind, BSB is profiling the seven players who have already arrived on campus ahead of National Signing Day, including this piece on wide receiver Johnnie Dixon.

Johnnie Dixon
5-10, 195
Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) William T. Dwyer
No. 30 WR, four stars
Committed on Dec. 17, 2013

Ohio State Bio:

Johnnie Dixon is a consensus four-star recruit ... Dixon also has a fine No. 70 rating on the 247Sports Composite ... competed at the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio ... has a reported 4.37 time in the 40 ... helped Dwyer High School, coached by Jack Daniels, to its second Florida Class 7A state championship in school history and its first-ever unbeaten season (15-0) in 2013 ... named second-team Associated Press Class 7A all-state in 2013 ... Dixon played his best football in the state playoffs with 17 receptions for 366 yards and six touchdowns in Dwyer's five-game run to the state title ... had five catches for 55 yards and one score in the 55-39 championship game win over Niceville ... had 33 receptions for 610 yards and six touchdowns as a junior ... is the son of Latoya Smith.

Dixon's Story: A quick, talented athlete in the state of Florida, it didn't take long for Dixon to show up on recruiting radars, and he first gained Scout's notice when he performed well at a number of camps in the summer of 2012, including one at the University of Florida.

By August, a number of the top schools in the country, including Ohio State, were in on Dixon, who at that point boasted offers from the Gators and Buckeyes, as well as Miami, Alabama, Florida State, South Florida and West Virginia.

After his excellent junior season at Dwyer, Dixon went to the NFTC in Miami in March 2013, impressing Scout analysts at that competition. A noted standout on the camp circuit, Dixon received an invitation to The Opening over the summer of 2013, where he tested at 4.53 seconds in the 40 and had a 36.2-inch vertical jump.

While there, Scout analyst Jamie Newberg filed the following report:

"Dixon had a solid couple of days but didn't have many ‘wow' plays like some of the other wide receivers. As expected Dixon tested well. This is a good athlete who can catch the football and runs better than most. Miami is the team to beat with Ohio State and Florida right there."

Meanwhile, at the high-level combine, Dixon said Miami – which is located about an hour or so from his home on Florida's east coast – was in the lead for his services but indicated he enjoyed a summer visit to Ohio State for camp.

"It was my first time up there and a great visit," Dixon said. "I had a nice time up there. I like what Urban Meyer is doing with that program and they are getting a bunch of Florida guys. The players are cool and I love the system. I think I can play in any system but that one is good for me."

By late summer, Alabama, Miami and Ohio State were clearly his top three, with Dixon noting that, "Everything around the Ohio State program is great. The coaches are great and the players really want to win there just like at Alabama."

Dixon then went about leading Dwyer to a state championship during his senior season, and he finally made the decision to make his choice public soon after the state title game in order to enroll early. When the decision finally came down Dec. 17, he was a Buckeye

"I felt the most comfortable at Ohio State and with their coaching staff," Dixon stated while at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January. "It was home to me, and I like the other players in this recruiting class a lot, so it's all good."

Early Impact: With Ohio State losing senior Philly Brown and Devin Smith struggling to make an impact over the last few games, there will be some openings for the team's talented wide receivers upon arrival, so enrolling early gives Dixon an advanced shot at earning playing time in 2014. He'll have to separate himself from a group of '14 recruits as well as 2013 commits James Clark, Corey Smith and Jalin Marshall, but the Buckeyes could use a speedster to stretch opposing defenses and Dixon might fit the bill.

Expert Take: "Dixon has a muscular build and is built more like a running back than wide receiver. He's fast and smooth. While I wouldn't say he has elite speed, he is plenty fast and can certainly get behind the secondary. I saw him play twice over the last two weeks (of the season). He scored on a long bomb against Tarpon Springs East Lake (in the state semifinals) and he got behind the Niceville secondary on two occasions. He catches the ball well. He doesn't fight the ball and catches away from his body.

"Dixon is good on the short routes. He gets out of his breaks quickly and is dangerous after the reception. Dixon does possess a nice burst and shows the ability to get up the field with the ball. He's not a dancer but more of a north-south runner and will get up field and do damage. He has the speed and power to break tackles. Something else impressive with Dixon is his ability to block on the perimeter. He will put a hat on a defensive back and do his job on the outside." – Newberg

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