Faith and football go hand in hand for UConn commit Keyion Dixon
Dixon, the mercurial quarterback and UConn commit, was among the last players to make his way through the handshake line and still feeling the brunt of the leg cramps that twice forced him out of Friday night's season-opening 27-7 win over host Hall, each step was a bit on the painful side. Still, he walked right by his gathering teammates, through the end zone, removed his helmet and took a knee right in front of the goal post. There might have been some curious onlookers wondering about this ritual but not his teammates. Dixon has done pretty much the same thing after each and every game he has played so regardless of the result or how he might have played, Dixon drops to one knee, gathers his thoughts and says a prayer.
"Every game I give glory to God because he makes everything possible, without Him I am nothing so I have to give Him the glory," Dixon said after rushing for 219 yards and scoring three touchdowns against Hall. "Every game since I was young, my mom has installed the faith in God. He has to be the leading force in your life so before the games I pray and after the games I have to pray. In a secluded area just so I could pray. I tell Him to use me as His vessel. He showcases my talent through me and as you can see, He actually did that tonight."
The prayers before and after the games began around the time Dixon's interest in football began to picked up. Perhaps he was 10 or maybe 11 at the time. His spirituality is something that his teammates and coaches know helps mold the person and player that he is today.
"He is a great kid, a spiritual kid and it keeps him grounded, keeps him reflective," Glastonbury coach Scott Daniels said.
Daniels chuckles the first time he had a chance to coach Dixon.
"As a freshman, Keyion was like a big, baby giraffe with this big long body," Daniels said. "You knew he had some athletic gifts and it just took him time to grow into that body. He is something else, it is very rare that you kind of a guy who is 6-3 and runs a 4.4 40 and just as athletic as heck. We knew he was going to be special, it was just a matter of figuring out the game."
Watching Dixon rips off scoring runs of 89 and 40 yards and headed to another long scoring run before barely stepping out of bounds at the Glastonbury 45, Dixon certainly knows what to do when he has the ball in his hands.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds (although the latter number is sure to increase when he gets into UConn's strength and conditioning program), Dixon fits the prototype tall, rangy receiver preferred by UConn coach Bob Diaco. He actually lined up as a slot receiver on Glastonbury's first offensive play but was at quarterback the rest of the time. He also played free safety, went back to field kickoffs and punts and punted.
"That is what he does," Daniels said. "Given him the ball, let him run in open space and he is going to make something happen."
Senior offensive guard Samuel Pirsig, who has thrown key blocks on many of Dixon's most scintillating runs, knows that Dixon doesn't need much room to break off a huge gain.
"He can do anything. Once he is open, he is gone."
Dixon, who said he will be in attendance at today's UConn/Army game, is able to keep tabs on how the Huskies are doing with much more ease than the other six Class of 2016 players committed to UConn since Glastonbury High School is only seven miles from Rentschler Field.
"I am really excited," Dixon said. "Those guys look good last week with the win and they have a lot of young guys making plays for them so I feel like the addition of me and the recruits in 2016 with those young guys they have now, all of that coming together is a great mix."
So what was it that sold Dixon on committing to UConn?
"I really felt at home," Dixon said. "The coaching staff was great, the players were outstanding. The energy they have right now going for them is really amazing."
It is also something that excites so many people in the Glastonbury community.
"It is going to be nice where we can get to a game and see him play, it is going to be special," Daniels said. "He is going up to the game (today) and I am going to head up there as well, get to see those guys. It is my alma mater and I am thrilled he is going there.
"Keyion really sold himself because his numbers, his measureables as far what he can run in the 40 and all that stuff. So when he goes there, he showcases very well and then it was just a matter of the coaches having a relationship with him, Keyion being comfortable. He went up there a few times, he knows some of the coaches very well, some of them live right in Glastonbury so there was a relationship there so it kind of escalated from that and is turning out to be a good thing."
Dixon bonded with many of the current UConn players he will be playing with but on his visit there was one player who he really connected with.
"(Sophomore cornerback) Jamar Summers, he was really good to me when I went there. He is a funny guy, always cracking jokes but then when it is time to get down to business and play football, it is time to play football. He is locked in on every play."