December 16, 2009

Special teams phenom sees stock rise

Though you may not know the name, there aren't many players in the entire southeast that are exciting with ball in their hands as Marcques Dixon. Dixon, a do-everything athlete from Decatur (Ga.) Southwest Dekalb, is starting to be discovered by college coaches. With highly-touted teammates like T.J. Stripling and Ken Malcome already committed, coaches know where to find Dixon and now are hoping he knows where to find them.

Currently, Dixon is practicing for the Dekalb County All-Star Bowl that will take place this Saturday. Similar to his situation in high school and likely his situation in college, things are up in the air as to what position he will play in the game but one thing is for certain, he will get the ball in his hands.

"I'm playing cornerback, receiver and special teams of course," Dixon said after the first day of practice. "Actually we had a mini scrimmage in special teams to see where we were and I took the kickoff back so I guess they were pretty excited about that."

While the kickoff return may have excited his all-star coaches, it was nothing new for Dixon. On the season, Dixon returned five kickoffs for touchdowns, two punts for touchdowns and one interception for a touchdown. He almost had a second that he returned for 109 yards if not for being pushed out of bounds after a 50-yard return.

Though it's clear that wherever Dixon is on the field he should be involved in the return game, he can also do damage as a receiver, a cornerback and he even played some quarterback out of necessity. Dixon's athleticism and versatility has earned him offers from UAB, Central Michigan and Southern Miss and now he has picked up serious interest from both Miami and Tennessee.

"Miami is scheduled for an in-home visit [today] and they'll have my written offer and everything," he said. "Tennessee is going to play Virginia Tech in the Georgai Dome so they'll be up in two or three weeks. I talk to Coach Orgeron and Lance Thompson almost every day. I saw them in school [yesterday] and they say they want me to come up to Tennessee."

With the interest picking up from Miami and Tennessee, Dixon is excited about the potential for playing at either program.

"Both of them are up and coming programs," he said. "Miami is known for defense and special teams and even putting offensive guys into the league. I feel that in a couple of years both of those programs will be outstanding."

Dixon already has an official visit set up to Miami for the last weekend before signing day and has already been to Tennessee unofficially to take in the Knoxville campus.

Both schools see Dixon contributing early on in special teams and working in on either offense or defense at the next level. Dixon loves having the ball in his hands but has always had a love for defense.

"My heart is defense," he said. "I wouldn't mind offense. But my coach, he's a legendary coach and he knows what he believes his players are capable of and he wants me to do offense as my primary position."

With just a few test scores to iron out on the academic side, Dixon will continue to keep an open mind to the recruiting process and hope for more opportunities. As he's shown on special teams, he tends to make the most of his opportunities.


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