Before Tennessee got a commitment (and subsequent decommitment) from Florida running back Jashaun Corbin, before Master Teague was ever truly pursued, the Vols were hot and heavy after Georgia tailback Lyn-J Dixon.
It’s definitely not a stretch to say he was one of the biggest priorities in UT’s class.
On Saturday, the pursuit paid off with a pledge from the 5’11”, 178-pound Butler, Georgia, runner. He announced his decision with a Twitter video in which he said, in part, “I’m ready to carry the rock on Rocky Top.”
He’s a 4-star prospect and the nation’s sixth-rated all-purpose back and the No. 307-ranked overall player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. The Vols have been after him for months and months, and he chose UT over offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Louisville, Michigan, Notre Dame and many others.
Dixon told GoVols247’s Ryan Callahan that Clemson has shown a lot of interest in him lately, but even if the Tigers offered, he’d feel comfortable with his decision. Still, head coach Dabo Swinney may pose the biggest threat.
The long-term relationship with Butch Jones and running backs coach Robert Gillespie led Dixon to Tennessee.
“They’ve been with me since I was, like, a freshman,” he told Callahan. “They’ve been with me ever since, and now I’m in 12th grade, so I have a lot of respect for that.”
He’s an elite athlete who can add weight and still be a dynamo with the ball in his hands. It’s exciting to think of him teaming with incoming freshman Ty Chandler for the next few years, and since Corbin elected to commit to Florida State, UT is still looking for another running back.
Perhaps Anthony Grant will be the other runner in this class. That wouldn’t be terribly surprising considering he preps at Buford High School outside of Atlanta where the Vols have experienced plenty of recruiting luck in recent years. Grant is a 5’10”, 190-pound runner who projects to be more of a between-the-tackles guy than Dixon.
They’d complement each other well.
The Vols are restocking their stable at running back for the future. Chandler, Timothy Jordan and Trey Coleman are all incoming freshmen, and they’ll team with junior John Kelly and sophomore Carlin Fils-aime this year. With Kelly only having two years left, Dixon will walk in at an opportune time to get plenty of carries throughout his career in Knoxville.
Tennessee tells Dixon it wants to use him like Alvin Kamara, which was the pitch to Corbin, too. It appears the New Orleans Saints rookie is going to be paying dividends for the Vols on the recruiting trail for years to come.
The commitment puts Tennessee back into the top 10 of the 247Sports rankings, and the Vols are second in the SEC behind LSU currently.