Miami recruiting: John Dixon plans summer decision after announcing top 5
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In-state CB John Dixon nears decision with Miami in top 5
For most of his recruitment, John Dixon figured he’d head out of state for college. The 3-star cornerback from George D. Chamberlain High School in Tampa, Fla., didn’t have much interest in playing for Florida or Florida State, even though his father is a Gators fan. Out-of-state suitors such as Ohio State, which offered in June, or South Carolina, which was first to offer back in 2016, gained the upper hand early.
His thought process changed a bit Feb. 21. Miami offered and the 3-star cornerback was intrigued.
“I wasn’t really interested in other Florida schools,” Dixon told DieHards. “When Miami offered me, it kind of changed. If I were to stay in Florida, it’d be at Miami.”
On Wednesday, Dixon all but made that idea official. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound defensive back announced his top 5 and the Hurricanes were the only Sunshine State team on the list. For the next few months, Miami will battle Alabama, Penn State, the Buckeyes and the Gamecocks to secure a commitment from the nation’s No. 33 cornerback in the 247Sports composite rankings.
— JDixon$ (@Jxnny_Dixon) May 2, 2018
In his tweet announcing the top 5, Dixon hinted a decision will likely come soon. The in-state prospect has visited South Carolina, Ohio State and the Hurricanes, so he knows he’ll need to see the Crimson Tide and Nittany Lions. After he’s seen all five schools — and he’d like to see the other three again — Dixon will be ready to make a decision before the end of the summer. He said he expects to announce his commitment sometime in the fall.
Miami is one of the newest contenders. Only Penn State, which offered March 20, joined the fray later among schools in Dixon’s top 5. The Hurricanes quickly got the athlete to campus, though, for their junior day March 24. He’s already built a strong relationship with both cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph and defensive quality control analyst DeMarcus Van Dyke. Both have NFL experience, which is important to Dixon.
“He’s one of the coolest coaches in this whole process,” Dixon said of Rumph. “I just know I can trust whatever he’s talking about.”
As for Van Dyke, his age stands out. Van Dyke is only 29, and Dixon said that helps strengthen their relationship.
“He’s young, so we connect,” Dixon said Friday before his Chamberlain High team practiced in Tampa. “We talk. We were just talking today.”
Miami’s best bet to land the cornerback could hinge on whether he hopes to stay in state. Dixon has some family in South Florida, so playing a few hours from home would make it easier for friends and family to watch him play.
The Hurricanes also are offering Dixon the potential to play early. Miami could have to replace all four of its starting defensive backs heading into the 2019 season, and so far, the Hurricanes don’t hold a single commitment from a defensive back in the Class of 2019. Depending on how the secondary class shakes out for Miami in 2019, Dixon might have a significant role by his sophomore year.
“The coaches told me that I’d be able to play early,” Dixon said. “I’m trying to get somewhere and play, so I can get into the league if possible.”
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Penn State will be a major factor because of some of the Tampa Bay area players on the roster, but the Gamecocks might be the frontrunner for now. South Carolina has been recruiting Dixon longer and more consistently than anyone. He’s visited Columbia three times and camped there twice. Dixon said he’s most familiar with the Gamecocks and is closer with South Carolina defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson than any other coach in this process.
“Coach T-Rob, that’s probably — specifically like as a person — my favorite coach throughout this whole process,” Dixon said. “They were my first offer. They stuck with me throughout.”
No visit dates are locked in yet, but they won’t necessarily coincide with any camps. Dixon, who also plays wide receiver, is recovering from a torn left patella tendon. He’s already back jogging, although his doctor has him on a cautious timeline. Dixon will sit out all of spring football and doesn’t plan to compete at any camps this summer.
Once he gets visits lined up, he’ll be ready to narrow down even further the five schools on his list and shut everything down.
“I want to get to it,” Dixon said. “I’m getting way too many messages.”
In-state OLB Rian Davis includes Miami in top 12
Rian Davis has been one of the Sunshine State’s fastest-rising prospects this offseason, and he’s now working his way closer to a decision. The 4-star outside linebacker from Wekiva High School in Apopka put out a top 12 on Thursday as he tries to sort through the recent burst of offers. The Hurricanes, who offered a bit before interest really took off, are still on the list, along with Clemson, North Carolina State, Louisville, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Arizona State, Houston, Indiana and Ohio State.
— Rian "Trouble" Davis (@Trouble_R4) May 3, 2018
The long list suggests Davis’ recruitment remains pretty open. He has, however, consistently mentioned a handful of major suitors, including the Tigers, Cardinals, Bulldogs, Cougars and Buckeyes.
Miami, however, has done a good job to stay in the mix since offering Jan. 18. Davis took one of his few visits of the spring to Coral Gables, Fla., for junior day March 24. The visit impressed him enough to keep the Hurricanes in the thick of his recruitment.
While Miami is recruiting a number of linebackers, Davis is a particularly appealing option because of both his talent and versatility. The linebacker spent the past two seasons at Clear Lake High School in Houston, where lined up as a running back, defensive end and middle linebacker. He could potentially play anywhere in the front seven.
These 12 schools won’t all be afloat for long, though. The 6-3, 230-pound edge rusher told 247Sports’s Andrew Ivins he plans to trim his list before the end of the summer, then start lining up official visits.
“I plan to have a top 3 or 4 by the middle of the summer,” Davis said, “and then probably take some officials.”
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