Among the eight scholarship freshmen who enrolled at Clemson this summer and went through their first practice in a Tiger uniform on Friday was running back Lyn-J Dixon.
Clemson co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott saw what he expected to see from Dixon, a former four-star prospect from Butler, Ga.
“It validated what I thought I saw in the recruiting process and the film,” Elliott said Friday night following Clemson’s first practice of fall camp. “I’ve compared him to (Andre) Ellington. He’s got a very good, quick first step. He’s a natural runner.”
Dixon showed his dynamic ability during his career at Taylor County High School, rushing for 73 touchdowns and more than 5,000 yards. He accounted for over 7,000 all-purpose yards, scored 88 total touchdowns and averaged 2.4 touchdowns per game in 37 career games.
According to Elliott, Dixon has a lot to learn like most true freshmen in terms of understanding the offense and his assignments, but the talent is clearly there.
“He’s a lot like Travis (Etienne) when Travis came in,” Elliott said. “He doesn’t quite understand where we’re trying to run the ball. But he sees the whole field, and if he sees green grass he’s going to be able to get to it, and I thought he moved around well and caught the ball well, too.”
Dixon is competing at running back with the sophomore Etienne as well as junior Tavien Feaster and senior Adam Choice.
Feaster was in a yellow, no-contact jersey on the first day of camp, which allowed Dixon to get some action with the second-team offense.
“With Tavien out, he got bumped up into maybe working a little bit more with the first couple reps of the second team, where he might not have gotten those reps had Tavien been in practice,” Elliott said.
However, Elliott said Dixon would have gotten the chance to show what he can do regardless of whether Feaster was on the field.
“He was going to get a look anyway,” Elliott said. “Obviously we’ve only got four guys. We lost one off-cycle that we didn’t anticipate with (C.J.) Fuller moving on. I thought we were going to have him back and Lyn-J would be the fifth guy, but right now he’s the fourth scholarship guy.”
Dixon was limited to six games as a senior in high school due to an injury but still averaged 108 yards per game and 8.9 yards per rush. As a junior in 2016, he ran for 1,914 yards and 35 scores on 229 carries.
A fine receiver as well, Dixon had 76 receptions for 1,088 yards and nine scores in his career. He was ranked by ESPN as the No. 10 running back and No. 171 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class.
The other members of Clemson’s 2018 signing class that went through their first practice as Tigers on Friday were wide receiver Justyn Ross, defensive end Justin Mascoll, linebacker Jake Venables, offensive lineman Jordan McFadden, kicker B.T. Potter and cornerbacks Kyler McMichael and Mario Goodrich.
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