All 105 is a Nittany Sports Now series profiling each Penn State football player. Here’s a profile of cornerback Johnny Dixon.
Before Penn State: A Tampa, Florida, native, Dixon played high school football at Chamberlin. He started all four years, although he missed most of his junior season due to injury. Penn State was in Dixon’s top five, but he ultimately committed to the University of South Carolina on signing day in 2018.
2019: Started the season opener against North Carolina and played in all 12 games, used primarily on special teams.
2020: Started eight of South Carolina’s 10 games. Finished the season with 34 tackles (28 solo), five pass breakups and a recovered fumble. Announced transfer to Penn State three days after Christmas.
2021: In his first season at Penn State, Dixon played in 12 of the team’s 13 games, ending the year with eight solo tackles. Per Pro Football Focus, he played 163 snaps at wide cornerback, which was third-most among Penn State’s returning corners.
Last year: Dixon became a regular for Penn State, starting all 13 games. His performance was good enough for him to be named an All-Big Ten honorable mention. He ended the year tied for sixth in the Big Ten with 10 pass breakups and led all Big Ten cornerbacks with three sacks, thriving off corner blitzes in coordinator Manny Diaz’s defense.
Where he stands: With Joey Porter Jr. gone, Dixon has an opportunity to make even more noise in Penn State’s defense. Storm Duck transferring after the Blue-White game was unfortunate for Penn State, but could bode well for Dixon’s standing. Dixon was a regular starter for Penn State last season, and there’s no reason to think he shouldn’t be again in 2023. At 6-feet and 193 pounds and with his ability to blitz, Dixon could be a fine NFL player, and could further build his draft profile with a strong season at Penn State.
A quote by Dixon: “It looks fun of there. Like, he’s out there roaming the field. Ji’Ayir’s a playmaker, you know all that. He’s out there on the field roaming the field, watching the quarterback and doing what he does. And, anybody wants to do that. Anytime you can just play football and be you, you have fun out there.” – Dixon on potentially replacing Ji’Ayir Brown in Diaz’s “prowler package” this season.
A quote about Dixon: “Now that Tig (Brown) has done it, the guys love it. And they can see it. Everybody wants to play his position on prowler, which is good, because you want competition. You want, when that third-down unit takes the field, the guys are not on the field, you want them to wish that they were. But there’s a price to admission, right?” – Diaz on filling the “prowler” void left by Brown