Freshman RB continues to turn heads in camp
One of Clemson’s most pleasant surprises so far in fall camp has been true freshman running back Lyn-J Dixon.
The Butler, Ga., native has stepped in and instantly generated a lot of buzz with his performance, drawing praise from his coaches and fellow players alike.
Among those who have been impressed by Dixon is junior linebacker Tre Lamar, who saw the freshman go 50 yards for a touchdown against Clemson’s defense on his first carry in Saturday’s scrimmage at Death Valley.
“Man, Lyn-J can run,” Lamar said. “It’s rare that you see a freshman out there who can play that well so fast. But he’s really something special, and I think he’s going to be a great player here.”
Dixon didn’t enter Clemson with the hype that surrounded some other members of the Tigers’ 2018 freshman class like Trevor Lawrence, Justyn Ross and Xavier Thomas. However, the hype machine has cranked up for Dixon since he went through his first practice on Aug. 3 and started flashing his potential.
Lamar said he sees similarities between Dixon and sophomore running back Travis Etienne, who likewise came into fall camp as a relatively unknown commodity last year. Etienne went on to set a Clemson freshman record with 13 rushing touchdowns and led the team with 766 rushing yards.
“A lot, in terms of camp for sure,” Lamar said. “No one knew Travis coming into camp and no one knew Lyn-J coming into camp until they blasted off.”
Dabo Swinney also compared Dixon to Etienne, citing their similar explosiveness and playmaking ability. Clemson’s head coach has been pleased with Dixon’s effort and toughness, and believes he is ahead of where Etienne was from a pass-protection standpoint at this time last year.
Dixon amassed more than 7,000 all-purpose yards and scored 88 total touchdowns during his career at Taylor County High School in Butler, Ga. Those tallies include 5,174 rushing yards and 73 rushing touchdowns in 37 career games.
Along with his long touchdown run, Dixon had an explosive 25-yard carry in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“23, he has no fear, and he’s got one gear — wide open,” Swinney said. “He’s got great vision. … He’s been a great addition, and a pleasant surprise, because I’ve been very impressed with his willingness to protect, his vision, his natural instincts and toughness. So, he’s been a bright spot for us.”