BUTLER, Ga. — Lyn-J Dixon is the first player in Taylor County High School history to receive a football scholarship offer from an SEC school.
That offer came from Tennessee this summer — prior to his sophomore season. But then UGA also offered him on Tuesday afternoon. That’s two SEC offers.
Taylor County has been playing football since 1973.
“I really can’t explain how it felt when I got the Georgia offer,” Dixon told the AJC’s DawgNation. “It is still shocking to me. It is like a dream for me to go someplace big like these D-1 colleges knowing that I am getting a scholarship offer from a big and great school like a Tennessee and a Georgia is still just so shocking to me I just can’t believe it.”
Those are just the latest feats in a growing stack of conquered improbabilities for Dixon. He said he was a “fat kid” during the summer of his sixth-grade year. So he did something that made Herschel Walker a Middle Georgia high school legend.
“I did what I heard Herschel (Walker) did before he went to Georgia,” Dixon said. “I started doing push-ups and sit-ups every night.”
He didn’t do anywhere near as many as the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, but those efforts still transformed his body.
That allowed him to craft his own football folk tales. There was the scoring of six touchdowns in a game. There was the time he zigged to one side of the field and found no joy. So he zagged to the other boundary only to be hemmed in again. He reversed his field one more time on the way to the end zone.
That story is grand, but even that doesn’t have the legs of the time he got a misguided bounce pass on the basketball court and threw down a windmill dunk. That was when he was in the eighth grade. He’d already been dunking for a year.
Dixon is still just 5 feet, 11 inches tall so that was some kind of vertical two years ago.
“He’s just a great athlete,” said Taylor County sophomore quarterback Gunnar Watson, a budding prospect in his own right. “He does things like that. Word travels fast in our town. When Lyn-J did that dunk in the eighth grade everybody knew by the next day what he had done. It is crazy.”
Dixon is already rated as a 4-star talent, but the local school board superintendent made a comparison on Wednesday afternoon that sums up the promise of the kid with a first name that’s so long it required a literal amputation.
Dr. Gary S. Gibson was the system athletic director for Muscogee County Schools in Columbus when former UGA phenom Isaiah Crowell racked up the yards playing for Carver-Columbus. Crowell was eventually rated as the No. 1 running back in the nation for 2011.
“They are about on track the same,” Gibson said. “Lyn-J is taller. Isaiah was thicker and he had a different body at this age than Lyn-J. But player wise they are really similar. Isaiah had better agility, but Lyn-J has better speed. I’d say they are very comparable players at this age.”
Crowell didn’t live up to expectations at UGA, but he’s entering his second season in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns.
Dixon’s hometown of Butler is home to maybe 2,000 residents. The high school and middle school are combined into the same building. That’s still less than 500 students, but the football field is the only place to be on Friday night.
The sophomore set a school record last year with 414 yards rushing and five touchdowns in a game. He’s already on the short list of best players to come out of the town. Native son Derrick Wimbush was a walk-on at Fort Valley State and played three years in the NFL at fullback for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Dixon’s full name is actually Andrerius Lyn-D’Kwuan Dixon. He’s never written that down on any school paper, though.
“My real name is so long so my granddad decided to call me Lyn-J and people just started following along in the footsteps of that,” Dixon said.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.