MOBILE, Ala. — As Johnny Dixon said, it’s “been a minute” since the former Penn State cornerback last played a football game.
In an apparent opt-out situation, Dixon didn’t travel with the team to Atlanta last month and thus didn’t play in the Peach Bowl against Ole Miss. But if all goes according to plan, Dixon has plenty of football ahead of him, and he’ll get to experience playing at the highest level.
Dixon is one of four Penn State players slated to participate in this year’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. The 5-foot-11, 192-pounder is playing for the National Team against the American Team.
So what are some of Dixon’s goals for the week?
“I want to prove that I’m one of the better corners here,” Dixon told Nittany Sports Now’s Alan Saunders Tuesday. “That I can play with anybody on the biggest stage.”
A receiver that Dixon went against was USC’s Brenden Rice, who had 791 yards and 12 touchdowns on 45 catches this past season.
Dixon went against the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder for three straight reps.
They split the first two reps, then Rice won the third.
“He’s a good receiver,” Dixon said. “He’s a big body. It’s been a minute since I played my last game, so I’m getting back into the swing of things. It was a good first day. We got to work.”
Dixon proved himself to be a good corner at Penn State. After spending his first two college football seasons at South Carolina, Dixon came to Penn State before the 2021 campaign. During 2022, Dixon became a fixture in first-year coordinator Manny Diaz’s defense and kept that role until his last college game.
Over his last two seasons, Dixon– who is greatly effective at blitzing– picked up 7.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, three interceptions, 13 pass breakups and a forced fumble. This past season, Dixon had 4.5 sacks, and no FBS CB had more.
So what does Dixon feel he does that makes him good at his job?
“I have really good feet,” Dixon said. “I can run with anybody. I can make good plays on the ball. I’m physical. I’m the whole package.”
The Senior Bowl is also giving Dixon a chance to spend time with King, who joined him as a starting corner this past season.
Unsurprisingly, Dixon feels this is an added benefit to the Senior Bowl experience.
“Yeah it’s cool,” Dixon said. “We get to give each other tips, critique each other. It just helps us both grow.”
Dixon will have a chance to compete with and against future NFL players this week, a chance to get better along the way. He enjoys that, above all else, about being part of the Senior Bowl.
“Kind of just being with all the guys,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent here, a lot of people that I’ll probably see later on in my career, so that’s my favorite part.”
TALE OF THE TAPE
Measured at the Senior Bowl: 5-foot-10, 192 pounds, 8 1/2-inch hands, 29 5/8-inch arms, 72-inch wingspan
WHERE WILL JOHNNY DIXON BE DRAFTED?
Dixon is expected to be a Day Three pick. His current position in the NFL Mock Draft Database average as of Jan. 31 is 152, which would put him in the fifth round.
JOHNNY DIXON SCOUTING REPORT / HOW DOES HE FIT?