As a Mississippi high-schooler, it was football and a scholarship waiting at Mississippi State that took Rashun Dixon's focus away from baseball. Then, during what was supposed to be his first full year of professional ball in 2009, an injury took the promising athlete off the playing field for much of the summer.
Dixon's results are finally starting to line up with his impressive set of tools.
"I feel like I've developed a lot more than I did last year," Dixon said. "I was hurt most of last year and didn't get to play many games. I've played in over a hundred this year, so I've developed most parts of the game, from defense to hitting.
"And when I played football, it's all football. You don't really think of anything else. Now I'm playing baseball and have a routine. I come out here and take batting practice, stretch and do all that stuff every day. I didn't have a chance to do that playing football. I'm more prepared for the game and feel like I more I do, the more I get accustomed to."
After putting together an 11-game hitting streak between July 29-August 8, Dixon is batting .341 during the month of August after hitting only .206 in July.
"For the most part, I didn't have a good July and finished up in the low .200s," Dixon said.
"So I set out to have a good August. I have stuck to my approach in my playing. I've been taking my walks, seeing as many pitches as I can, and working on hitting the curveball and not giving up on it."
The first in his family to choose baseball as his career path, Dixon has been joined on the professional diamond by younger brother Deshun, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays this year and is currently playing in the Gulf Coast League. Rashun Dixon has also taken interest in the football playing exploits of his two older brothers.
"I'm excited for him," Rashun said. "Hopefully after the season's over I can go out and see him play a few times. I'm happy that he's gotten the chance. He's been a Niner fan his entire life, so he's playing for the team he loves."
An untimely injury has stalled the career of senior Antwon Dixon, who will seek a medical redshirt after tearing his ACL in spring practice at Midwestern State. Although his oldest brother is currently in an NFL camp, Rashun claims that Antwon, a free safety, is "the best athlete in the family."
Growing up, all four Dixon brothers played pretty much every sport where you could keep score. Rashun was set to follow in Anthony and Antwon's footsteps by accepting a scholarship offer from an SEC school, but the A's convinced him to play baseball exclusively.
"We did everything we could do – football, baseball, basketball, you name it," Rashun said. "The older we got, our bodies started forming. My two older brothers were getting bigger and playing football. I thought about playing football and was going to before I signed.
"Baseball has given me a different type of challenge. It's a lot harder than football. Football is just a grind physically, whereas baseball adds on the mental aspect."