I had the pleasure of speaking with Dai’Jean Dixon out of Nicholls State over the phone about his draft prep, and the mindset he gets in before gameday. Dixon finished the bowl game leading the American team in yards, and averaging 21.8 yards per reception. He also did so with 3 separate QBs, which speaks to his ability and athleticism. Dixon will now prepare for the NFL Combine after a strong showing in this bowl game.
Tell me about the overall experience this week, what was it like?
First I just want to give thanks to even being able to have the opportunity to be there. Just that whole week in general was a great experience. It was my first time going to Cali, and it was my first time being a part of that process. I enjoyed it, I learned a lot and the during the practices during the week, they were throwing plays at us, I didn’t know a lot of guys and we didn’t know each other, but we had to get to know each other especially because we were on the same team. We had to create a fast bond with the Quarterbacks and get that chemistry together before Saturday, so we only had a few days to do that. During the week, I met a lot of good people, and came there with the intentions to get better.
I know I come from a small school and I played against a few FBS teams that were in bigger conferences than us and I did well against those teams. I feel like I should be on that level, but it didn’t work out that way, I played the hand that I was dealt. Everyone was out there competing and we just made each other better. I feel like I had a good week, I came out there to show the scouts what I can do and show them that I belong on a national team, and I’ve just continued to find ways to keep getting better.
What’s something you feel like you still need to work on pre-draft?
Trusting my size that’s one. I think I forget about how big I am sometimes, but that’s something that I always need to keep in mind. I also need to work on everything, on the national level, it’s the best of the best, so working on timing with the QBs, the releases, my hands, just being able to get off the ball fast, run great routes and catch the ball. One thing for sure is just improving on my game in all aspects.
What’s something you feel you weren’t able to show the scouts this week?
I’m 6’2 and I know that they think a lot of guys that are tall can’t run 4.3, 4.4 [40 yard dash times] and I think that’s something that I still have yet to show them. When that day comes, I’ll be ready.
Is there an NFL player you model your game after?
I’m watching Calvin Johnson, Chad Johnson, Julio Jones, Cooper Kupp, from big to small because I feel like I’m a versatile player. I feel like I can play at all sizes so I watch a lot of different guys.
What’s your favorite route to run?
I like running routes where I have to show that I have the ability to change the pace of my speed. As far as digs, comebacks, curls, showing that I’m able to use my size from going and being tall to dropping down low and getting small, coming in and out of breaks. Just breaking routes basically, showing off that versatility.
You had a great game with 21 Yards/Reception, why do you think you were so successful on offense?
I got with the quarterbacks, I built that bind. We were short on receivers so that played a part in it too, but besides that, just talking to the QBs at practice, studying the plays overnight and just getting that chemistry down. Showing them how I run routes and seeing how they throw the ball, and how they would like for me to run routes as well as studying defenses.
What’s your pre-game ritual like?
I usually just listen to music, before I listen to music I meditate. I try to lock in and get in that different mind frame. I think about my family a lot so that’s like my why, and I pray to God, I give all things to God because he always comes through when we’re feeling low. Even on our best days we gotta give thanks to him
If you could have dinner with any NFL player who would it be?
Aaron Donald because he’s different. I just watch him during the games and he’s a monster. I’ve seen a couple of his workouts, and then some how he’s always got a fresh haircut, he’s always looking sharp. He’s muscular, big but at the same time he’s probably a really great guy off the field, so I’d like to have dinner with him.