Sometimes a long shot comes through and throughout the recruitment of West Palm Beach (Fla.) wide receiver Johnnie Dixon the Buckeyes were considered a long shot by many observers. On Tuesday the long shot finished first as the 4-star wide receiver gave his pledge to the Buckeyes over Miami, Alabama and a slew of other schools.
"It was just the best place for me," Dixon said. "To go up without having to be home, always going home, you just got to get away a little and live your life."
The nation's No. 107th ranked player by Rivals.com held offers from many of the major programs across the nation from coast-to-coast and took official visits to Ohio State, Alabama, Arkansas and NC State as well as making multiple visits to hometown Miami. But the Buckeyes managed to stay in the forefront and head coach Urban Meyer was able to close the deal and secure the commitment of the No. 17 wide receiver prospect in the nation.
"It was a great visit when coach (Urban Meyer) came through but in my heart I knew where I wanted to go for the longest (time)," Dixon added. "I just had to really make sure it was the best for me."
Of course the question was asked about Dixon leaving the warmth of South Florida to head to Ohio where there is currently snow on the ground and chilly temperatures but Dixon knows that his hopeful future profession doesn't let you pick and choose where you want to play.
"When you go to the NFL, you can't complain if you get drafted by Green Bay, there is nothing but snow and there is no complaining at the end of the day," Dixon said with a smile on his face.
Dixon has the skills to potentially get to the league but he has at least three years of college football ahead of him at minimum and can be very successful in the Ohio State system according to the experts.
"Dixon is an explosive receiver who can work from the slot or on the outside," Mike Farrell, national recruiting editor for Rivals.com said. "I think his strength will be as a slot receiver where he can be a mismatch for nickel corners or safeties trying to check him. He runs very precise routes, is able to gain separation with consistency and he sells misdirection very well. I think he fits perfectly into what Ohio State likes to do because he can gain yardage after the catch and turn a bubble screen or slant into a nice gain and hit a home run here and there. He's an immediate impact guy because of his speed and ability to play inside or outside."
The new Buckeye was set to announce his decision last week but decided to delay his decision until after his state championship football game citing he did not want to be a distraction. That was an early indication that he might be looking to move away from the hometown Canes and a decision to leave the region could be controversial. It also allowed more time for the Ohio State coaches to get the family on board with the idea of Dixon heading to Ohio for his college career.
Florida recruiting analyst, Kynon Codrington, of Rivals.com believes that Dixon could move up into the Rivals100 potentially based upon what he has seen of Dixon through his career and agree with Farrell that this is a huge pickup for Ohio State.
"Dixon has elite linear speed. His 0-60 is only second to Dalvin Cook for the offensive skill players coming out of Florida in this year's class." Codrington said. "He can get over the top of defenses in a hurry with his second gear. The four-star has home run ability once he gets in the open field and he is at his best against man coverage because of his quickness off the line. Dixon to Ohio State gives them a dynamic playmaker on the perimeter and legit vertical threat. His addition will help the Buckeyes increase their team speed with committed 2014 flankers Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel."
Dixon is the 19th commitment for the class of 2014 and joins offensive weapons that include Curtis Samuel, Noah Brown, Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell.
The new Buckeye is excited to get into the Ohio State system and feels that it will work out well for what he is able to offer.
"They throw the ball, they put it into the playmakers hands," Dixon said. "Coach Meyer knows what to do with receivers."