As they say in the recruiting circles, D’Cota Dixon is 'blowing up' right now.
At his current rate, the New Smyrna Beach defensive back could have more than 30 college football scholarship offers by the time the spring session is over.
“I’m feeling great right now,” said Dixon, the do-everything athlete who will see time on offense and defense this coming season for the Barracudas, but his specialty is safety, and there are a lot of college coaches who would like to see him wearing their uniform next season.
UCF is one of them. The Knights, along with USF, are the only Florida schools to offer Dixon so far, but the 5-foot-11, 190-pound defensive back knows it’s still early in the process. He visited USF earlier this spring with teammate and quarterback Marcus Johnson and said he liked what the Bulls had to offer.
As for UCF, he said he’d like to visit the Orlando school at some point.
“I think it’s a good school. I’ve never actually been there,” he said. “I was supposed to go on a visit there but I never got the chance. One of my friends committed there, though, so that’s pretty cool. … my friend got offered and I got offered.”
His friend of Port Orange Atlantic running back C.J. Jones, who committed to UCF last month. Jones hasn’t shut down his recruiting and is still entertaining all suitors, but he's the lone 2014 commit currently on the UCF board.
Dixon, the No. 12-ranked player in the Sentinel's 2014 Central Florida Super60 and the No. 81 player in the Sentinel's 2014 Florida Top 100, is reeling everything in for now. He won’t begin the process of narrowing his list of potential schools until this summer, and he hasn’t fully begun the process of researching. He also said he hadn’t given much thought to his UCF offer or the thought of playing college football so close to home.
“Yeah, I’m not really actually sure yet,” said Dixon, whose older brother Daryl is a former Florida defensive back and is currently in his fifth year as assistant coach at Ball State. “Everything will depend on playing time and academics so I’ll have to wait and see who all offers.”
Once he starts to zero in on where he wants to play, he’ll start the process by looking at rosters to see how deep each school is at the safety position.
“I wanna play … I wanna play as soon as possible,” he said. “So I will be looking at that, but I feel good . I’m blessed right now.”
He won’t be playing in the Barracudas’ spring game at Palm Beach Central, taking extra precautions not to further damage a slight labrum tear in his shoulder that he suffered in the Barracudas’ kickoff classic game last August against Merritt Island.
He came off the field with his arm dangling, grimacing in pain. His shoulder had popped out of place, but he never thought the injury was serious enough to warrant any reconstruction.
“I played through it all last year and I didn’t even know I had torn it,” Dixon said. “It is [painful] sometimes when it pops out, but I get it back in, rest one play and I’m good to go … get back in the game. It didn’t pop out again last year until midseason and then the last time was the Winter Haven game.”
That was the last game of the season for the ‘Cudas, a 24-20 heartbreaker in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs, ending an undefeated season that most figured would go deeper into the postseason.
He says he won’t have the tear repaired until after his senior year and that he’s confident it won’t cause him any issues.
“I didn’t think it was bad until I had an MRI and they told me the results,” Dixon said. “It’s not bad, and that’s the good thing … just a little tear that can be repaired and ready in four or five months.
“It’s not as bad as everyone thinks it is. I can play through it. There’s nothing stopping me. It hasn’t popped out all spring. I’m ready to go forward, make some more plays and go to the playoffs .. . farther this year.”
He’s taking 100-percent reps in practice and looked good in drills on Thursday.
“I know I won’t be able to play in the spring game, but I’m good,” Dixon said. “I know I’m 100 percent, we just don’t want to take any chances, but I’ll be definitely be playing in the fall … every single game.”
He plans to graduate early and be on a college campus next January and he is scheduled to take the college entrance exams in June. Those scores will give him a better idea of where he stands in achieving that goal.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun