Happy New Year indeed.
After a forgettable 2016 season, Ole Miss got 2017 started off right, picking up a commitment from four-star linebacker Breon Dixon, who announced for the Rebels on national television during halftime of the Under Armour All-America Game.
The 6-foot, 218-pound Dixon is rated the No. 27 outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com. Ole Miss beat out Louisville for his services, though Dixon held no shortage of offers, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State and Tennessee.
Grayson (Ga.) High School has been good to Ole Miss in recent years, producing, along with Dixon, Denzel and Robert Nkemdiche. Both were All-Americans in their Rebel careers.
“They see me like Denzel,” Dixon said of the Ole Miss coaching staff. “They said I have a chance to play a little safety on third downs, too. They want to do a lot of different things with me. We watched a lot of film on Denzel and (former Ole Miss linebacker) Serderius Bryant (while on his official visit in November). They told me that I have the same skill-set as those two.”
Ole Miss certainly has a glaring need for immediate help at linebacker. The Rebels started eight different players at its two linebacker positions last season with little to show for their efforts outside of DeMarquis Gates, who led the team with 79 tackles. But Gates had his issues, too, from missed assignments to a suspension for on and off-the-field issues. Dixon could see the field immediately.
In total, Ole Miss had one of its worst statistical showings defensively in school history. Dixon could push to play as early as the next few months. He’s a December graduate who will enroll at Ole Miss for the spring semester in January. The Rebels finished 5-7 in 2016, including back-to-back losses to close out the regular season.
“They need me to come in and play right away next season,” Dixon said. “They kept comparing me to Denzel and told me I had a chance to come in there and be right in the mix at weak-side linebacker. They can use me a lot of different ways. They want me to come in and be an impact player for their defense.”
Ole Miss likely isn’t done adding linebackers. The Rebels currently have three-star linebacker Josh Clarke committed, and Northeast Community College linebacker Brenden Williams, also a three-star, signed with the Rebels in mid-December as an early enrollee. The Rebels would certainly like to add at least one, though they would take more.
Of interest are, among others, four-star targets Willie Gay, Thomas Johnston and Mohamed Sanogo. Dixon had over 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss as a senior.