Ohio State an Easy Choice for Dixon
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The recruiting process isn't the same for every player, even if every player is told the same things. In order to land a recruit, some coaches will simply tell a player what they think he wants to hear.
For wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, an Ohio State signee out of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, all he wanted to hear about was which program was going to make him the best player that he could be. He immediately took to Ohio State, and specifically Urban Meyer.
"He's a great man and I knew coming in this was the best spot for me to become a great receiver," Dixon said.
"For a while I was leaning here. Nobody really knew but my parents and my coaches. He's just an amazing guy. He just made me want to be here. He cares about me. Every day I see him he asks how I'm doing. He calls me every day to make sure I'm doing well."
That type of attention from the head coach obviously affected him early on, and his focus continued turning toward Ohio State. Eventually, he was convinced that Columbus was the place he needed to be.
"I just knew that it was the best spot for me," Dixon said of Ohio State.
"If I wanted to be a great receiver, I knew it had to be here. Nothing is ever given to you. You go out and work for it. Depending on how bad you want it and how hard you work, it's there for the taking."
Dixon seems completely comfortable working hard for what he wants. Remember, he graduated early so that he could enroll early, and now he's officially part of Ohio State's football team and taking part in offseason workouts.
OSU receivers coach Zach Smith explained what it was in Dixon that made Ohio State such a perfect fit for him.
"One, Johnnie Dixon is a receiver and he wants to be the best to ever play the game," he said.
"He wants to go to the NFL and he wants to be as successful as he can possibly be. He's a really intelligent kid. So he knew I was genuine and that I was going to take care of him when I got here. That's why he left south Florida and came here.
"But two, he chose Ohio State because it's the best university and this program, this offense, the head coach we have, myself, it was the best chance for him to develop into the maximized version of himself."
The maximized version of himself is one very large reason why Dixon chose Ohio State. Becoming the best player that he can be isn't his only goal, however. In fact, it's more of a means to an end.
"For me, when my grandmother passed away, that really pushed me," he explained.
"My mom always pushed me too. Just knowing that I want to move her out of the place we live now and I want to get her a bigger place so she won't have to work anymore."
Where Dixon was concerned, Ohio State provided him the best opportunity to help himself and his family. His as not an atypical story, and he has seen it first hand growing up in south Florida.
"We've got some great players down there," he said.
"And all of them have a story behind them why they're playing. They're all driven by something that makes them want to play."
Dixon's drive has brought him 1,100 miles from home, but for good reason.
"I feel like if I work hard enough, I can hit the field and I can make an impact," he said.
That is exactly the type of talk that Urban Meyer wants to hear out of his freshmen. He has high hopes for Dixon, and has let the young receiver know it.
"That doesn't add any pressure," Dixon said.
"It just lets me know that I have to work hard. It's there for the taking and I just have to take it."
Having been on campus for a month now, Dixon is learning quickly. He is entrenched in the winter workouts, and doing everything he can to get onto the field in 2014.
He has also shown himself to be an adapter to his environment. Specifically, the frigid Ohio environment this past month.
"20 degrees now feels like 70 back home to me," he said of the cold Columbus temperatures.
Even the freezing temperatures can almost be a draw for some players.
"The weather is not really a big factor to me," he said.
"Once you make it to the NFL you play in all types of weather, so the weather wasn't a big deal for me. Just wanting to be a great player and a great receiver, it had to be here."
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