Combining intelligence and athleticism, Catonsville senior Brandon Dixon graduated at the peak of his athletic career.
For his efforts in football, and indoor and outdoor track, Dixon was named the 2013 Catonsville Times Co-Athlete of the Year.
He shared the honor and the gridiron with Joseth Hylton.
For two seasons, Dixon was the right guard for Catonsville football teams that had a combined 19-5 record.
Those teams combined for 7,923 yards from scrimmage, including 6,609 on the ground.
But those numbers are not what Dixon will remember the most from his football career.
“It’s great to hear those numbers, but what I’ll be able to tell my grandkids some day are all the memories and friendships I made with my teammates,” Dixon said.
The 5-foot-10, 235-pounder not only performed his blocking duties with precision and toughness, he also knew his assignment and everyone else’s on the line.
“One of his key attributes was helping all the other guys on the line with his line calls,” Catonsville coach Rich Hambor said.
Freshman center Jake Faircloth absorbed his offensive line knowledge.
“Having Brandon as a role model and right next to Jake every game was one of the best things that could have happened,” said Hambor, noting Dixon improved his strength by gaining 40 pounds between his junior and senior seasons.
His leadership skills also came out in his senior year.
“I really felt like I really filled that leadership role,” he said.
“When he spoke, everybody hushed up because they knew it was important,” Hambor said.
Assistant coach Eric Warm also saw the honorable mention All-State lineman’s contributions on the gridiron.
“In football, he knew everybody’s plays,” Warm said. “He deserves all the accolades he gets.”
“We had a very young line so I definitely focused on helping them make sure their steps were right,” Dixon said.
Warm also had the pleasure of coaching Dixon on the wrestling team as a freshman and sophomore.
In fact, Dixon earned a spot at one of the upper weights and maintained it despite having to wrestle against upperclass teammates all season.
“Brandon was very tough, probably one of the toughest kids I had as a sophomore,” Warm said. “He wrestled some really good kids and he stuck it out and paid his dues and saved us in a lot of matches.”
Warm understood when Dixon told him he was switching to indoor track for his final two winter campaigns.
“He said he was aware of the time he would have to put into it (wrestling) and it would cut into his studies,” Warm recalled. “He deserved everything he got for the amount of time he put into his athletics and academics.”
The wrestling team’s loss was the track team’s gain and indoor coach Nathan Dyer reaped the benefits.
Dyer, who was also an assistant for the outdoor track team and coached Dixon in shot put and discus saw his dedication to both throwing events.
“From his junior to his senior year he added four feet in the shot put,” Dyer said.
He threw a personal best 49 feet, .05 inches and won shot put at the Baltimore County championships and his throw of 48-feet, 10 inches was second at the Class 4A state championship meet.
“It felt perfect and everything lined up just right,” said Dixon, of his throw at the state meet.”
His coach was also impressed.
“I was more proud of his throw at states than what he did at counties, because, at states, it was freezing and wind and we had rain on and off,” Dyer said. “The fact he threw that far and came that close in those conditions, made that the better performance of the two.”
Dyer helped him with a regimented program during his senior year and only took him to invitationals and Dixon stuck to his workouts.
“I take no credit,” Dyer said. “He put in all the work. He put in all the hours. It’s all on that kid. It worked out in the end.”
Dixon was also second in the Class 4A North Region championships in the discus and the shot put.
But, sports weren’t the only thing that drove the outdoor track team’s Most Valuable Player.
With a weighted grade point average of 5.67, he ranked third in the senior class of 444 students and he got straight A’s in all four years of high school.
He was also president of the National Honor Society and Speech and Debate clubs and won the All Scholar National College Football Foundation award.
The scholarship award was his proudest achievement.
“That grounded me into the idea of having a strong mind and strong body and that you can’t have one without the other,” said Dixon, who will attend the University of Chicago, and major in economics in addition to throwing shot put, discus, javelin and hammer.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun