LINCOLN — Breon Dixon came to Lincoln and decided he might as well stay.
The transfer from Ole Miss confirmed his commitment to Nebraska on Sunday via Twitter in an expected move. After all, Dixon’s been listed in the Nebraska student directory since Friday. He’s expected to begin classes as a midyear transfer this week.
A four-star linebacker from Loganville, Georgia — he played at the same high school as NU linebacker Mohamed Barry — Dixon played in six games as a true freshman for the Rebels in 2017.
In that span, Dixon was credited with five tackles and a quarterback hurry (against Tennessee-Martin on Sept. 9).
He’s listed as a 6-foot, 206-pound defensive back on Ole Miss’ website. It seems unlikely he’ll be pigeonholed to a particular spot here. In Erik Chinander’s defense, it is possible Dixon will play on any level of the defense, from safety to linebacker to situational pass rusher.
Thanks to a standout career at Grayson High northeast of Atlanta, Dixon drew interest from schools throughout the SEC. Outside the conference, he took official visits to TCU and Louisville before settling on the Rebels and enrolling in January 2017.
In July, though, head coach Hugh Freeze resigned, then in December the NCAA levied additional penalties against the school, including a postseason ban in 2018. Ole Miss granted permission for many players to seek transfers, and Dixon took advantage.
It’s also unclear exactly what Dixon’s playing status will be for the coming season. Ole Miss seniors-to-be are allowed to transfer without penalty, but underclassmen by default are still subject to normal NCAA transfer rules. However, quarterback Shea Patterson transferred from Ole Miss to Michigan and is appealing for immediate eligibility. If he wins, that might clear the path for players like Dixon to also play right away.
In the meantime, though, Dixon is the 14th signee of NU's 2018 class, and second midyear transfer to commit in recent days, joining East Mississippi Community College wide receiver Mike Williams.
He is also the second versatile player with experience playing in the secondary to commit to NU since Scott Frost was hired, joining Jones County (Mississippi) Junior College transfer Deontai Williams.
It’s very likely that Dixon is only the first domino to fall after a busy recruiting weekend for the Huskers. Frost and company appear to be prioritizing getting their top targets on campus as soon as possible after the dead period rather than waiting until closer to the Feb. 7 signing day and getting the last shot at prospects they’re after.
Consider another of defensive recruits that spent the weekend on campus: Braxton Clark. At 6-3, he has the kind of size teams across the country covet. The three-star decommitted from Virginia Tech on Dec. 20 and didn’t sign early. The fact that the Huskers brought him to Lincoln on the first possible weekend after the early signing date is telling.
Another to keep an eye on in the coming days is four-star Mansfield, Texas, safety Cam Jones, who paid his own way to Lincoln to be around for the big recruiting weekend with teammate Corbin Fredrick, who holds a walk-on offer. Jones has been very active on social media, made a trip at his own expense after using an official visit here last month and, if he’s done nearly as much for any other school, he’s sure been quiet about it.
A decision is also expected in the near future from Independence, Missouri, defensive end Daniel Carson. The 6-5, 280-pound three-star prospect was recruited both by Mike Riley’s staff and also by Frost’s staff at UCF. Now, the combination of Frost and NU’s proximity — Carson lives just more than three hours away from Lincoln — seems to put the Huskers in strong position compared to Miami and Texas, the other two schools he’s visited.
“This is his last real big visit he’s going to go on, and then he’s going to compare the three and sit down with his family and figure out what he really wants,” Carson’s head coach at William Chrisman High, Matt Perry, told the Journal Star.
On the other side of the ball, running back Miles Jones appears to be the best bet for an early decision. He is currently verbally committed to Vanderbilt, but the new Husker staff — and several current players and commits, such as four-star Florida safety C.J. Smith — has been recruiting him hard, and he has no other known visits planned.
Two other four-star prospects who visited this weekend from Dixon’s home state — cornerback Taiyon Palmer and outside linebacker Caleb Tannor — will be tough fights for the Huskers. Palmer picked up offers from Clemson and Notre Dame on Thursday and has time to figure out where he’ll use his three remaining official visits. Tannor, who decommitted from Georgia in November, is high on the wish list of several SEC teams and expected to visit a couple in the coming weeks.
So, one prospect is already on board this weekend, several others NU likes its chances with could decide at any time in the coming days, and the school appears to be in the fight for more down the stretch. The visitors list for the coming weekend is already growing and reportedly includes four-star back Jashaun Corbin (Rockledge, Florida), one of the five known players offered by Frost’s staff the day he was hired.
It’s shaping up to be a wild few weeks on the recruiting trail.