Collin Dixon’s journey to Champaign is hardly atypical for prep recruits these days.
Dixon, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound wide receiver from Tallmadge, Ohio, was previously committed to the Wisconsin Badgers before re-opening his recruitment on Nov. 17 in the wake of Paul Chryst’s departure. Then Monday night, he dropped the announcement that he’d be committing to Bret Bielema and the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Dixon also held offers from other Big Ten programs like the Purdue Boilermakers, Northwestern Wildcats, and Indiana Hoosiers. He also earned offers from the Kentucky Wildcats and a bevy of G5 schools.
While he projects as a wide receiver at Illinois, Dixon also played on defense and returned punts in high school. The Illinois coaching staff clearly favors that type of athleticism and versatility in its players.
Looking closer at the highlights, there doesn’t appear to be much that Dixon can’t do: he catches contested passes, jukes out defenders, breaks tackles, and finds another gear to break loose returns and get yards after the catch. Dixon also clearly doesn’t take plays off, and is an aggressive blocker even when he’s not the focus of the play.
Sometimes it’s easy to see high-level prep prospects simply take advantage of their speed and/or size on film rather than demonstrate good techniques and a variety of skillsets. Fortunately, Dixon maximizes his advantage in athleticism by complementing it with refined techniques and effort on every play.
As for a comparison to a current Illini, he reminds me a bit of Brian Hightower. Both receivers are big enough to set the edge with effective blocking, but can also pick up yards on a variety of different routes.
Tommy DeVito ➡️ Brian Hightower Touchdown pic.twitter.com/RMvBvigrqs— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) September 3, 2022
Art to Brian Hightower pic.twitter.com/zVev6dVGPp— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) October 9, 2022
Although there are a number of players ahead of him on the current roster, I’m confident he’ll be given every opportunity to earn playing time in 2023 either as a receiver or a returner.
With all that said...welcome to the Illini, Collin Dixon!