Panther Defenders Move From Lufkin to Lubbock

<p>Lufkin's Panthers built themselves a 14-1 season before losing to Southlake Carroll in a Class 5A Division II state semifinal. Among the foundations of John Outlaw's team's success were a pair of defensive standouts: Rashad Hunt and McKinner Dixon, both of whom are also among the incoming 2005 recruits for Texas Tech.

Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach describes Dixon this way: :"Extremely athletic guy for his size, runs well, and really had a fine high school career. He got on a lot of radar screens early. Tremendous high school career and we expect the same in college."

Dixon earned interest from such national powers as Oklahoma, Texas, LSU, Florida State and Florida as a 6-3, 238-pound defensive end. He and Hunt are good friends, according to Outlaw. Hunt, a 6-3 245-pound defender, "had offers from Iowa State and the University of Houston. I think McKinner going out there kind of helped out."

Of Hunt, Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach noted, "Rashad Hunt finished the season as good as any player I saw. Last seven games- very impressive. One thing to me that's very impressive is how hard he hits someone when he gets there. When he gets there he blows it up, the violence he displays on the field was impressive to me."

"They're both good friends," Outlaw said. "Tech did well for themselves. They picked up two fine young men and very good football players. McKinner is an inch taller, a (tenth of a) second faster in the 40, but you can't ever tell what's going to happen when kids get on a college campus. It depends on which one of them works the hardest, adjusts to college life, the speed of the game and all those other factors.

"If (Dixon) can stay healthy, in three years, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see him somewhere other than Lubbock," Outlaw said, hinting that his defensive star had pro-ball potential. At Lufkin the big DE earned all-state first-team honors with 96 tackles including 31 for lost yardage and 12 sacks his senior year – his first as a defensive end. He pressured the quarterback 14 times, forcing four fumbles, two of which he recovered himself – and Dixon turned one of those into a touchdown.

As a junior, playing nose tackle, Dixon earned first-team all-district honors with 88 takedowns including 14 that cost his opponents yards. Dixon's 40-yard sprint measures 4.58, and he doubles in shot put where he won a District 14-5A title last season.

Hunt worked the strong side at Lufkin and earned an all-state award his senior year at defensive end while making 60 tackles. A score of those cost opponents lost ground; Hunt also corralled five quarterbacks for sacks and has run 4.79 in the forty. Hunt earned Max Emfinger Four-star Recruit listing.

Dixon was named a Five-Star recruit in Emfinger's Top 150 overall national listing, and an and Four-Star pick. He was named to the Top 100 prospects nationally by Student Sports and College Football listed him at the No. 17 defensive end in the country. had him as No. 15 over all in their Southwest Hot 100, while showed Dixon at No. 23 overall in the Texas Top 100. Lubbock's Avalanche Journal named him to the "State Fab 44" list, and the Houston Chronicle listed him in its Top 100. Tech expects him to play DT.

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