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December 22, 2003Give InsidetheGators.net a try! The following article is the type of extensive recruiting coverage you receive with a InsidetheGators.net Ultimate Ticket subscription. InsidetheGators.net provides our subscribers with in-depth coverage of Gator football, basketball and recruiting plus exclusive insights from Gator Bait editor Marty Cohen and assistant editor Guerry Smith. And Alligator Alley, our online community for Gator fans only, where one of our most popular features is posted every week - the War Room. Try InsidetheGators.net's Premium Ticket for 7 days FREE with no obligation by clicking here.
Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington head football coach Tim Harris is a savior to senior defensive tackle Antonio Dixon. Dixon, a three-star defensive tackle, does not own a phone at his house to take recruiting calls. Therefore, Dixon's recruiting is handled in large part by Harris, who is more than happy to help out the 6-4, 338-pound defensive tackle.
Harris has been a great help to Dixon and his parents in the recruiting process, lending his office and phone to the Dixons so they can organize phone interviews and visits with college coaches.
"They call me and we set up an arrangement that I can get him down and we will give them a call back," Harris said.
Harris has a pulse on Dixon's recruiting and any information on Dixon, Harris will be happy to supply.
Washington finished the season 10-3 after starting the season 0-2. Washington reeled off a 10-game winning streak before losing to Seffner Armwood in the semifinals of the Class 4A playoffs. When the season concluded, Dixon narrowed down his list of schools to five and has scheduled all of his official visits.
Dixon has already been on one official visit to Rutgers from Dec. 12-14.
"It was enjoyable," Harris said. "He had a great time. He was impressed. That was his first one so his eyes are going to be open real big, so it was a successful visit."
Dixon's other official visits are to South Florida on Jan. 9, Florida on Jan. 16, Miami on Jan. 23 and Florida State on Jan. 30.
Harris adds that Dixon does not have a favorite out of the group but states that since Dixon is a special education student, the most important factor in Dixon's final decision will be how comfortable he will feel at a school.
"Right now he is just going to visit the schools and put everything together at the end and determine from that point between myself and his parents and himself based on the his situation because he is a special education kid," Harris said. "We are going to look at what programs everybody has and the study situation that will able to have a clean fit for him. That he will be comfortable and able survive.
"I wouldn't put a favorite right now because it would have to be him to choose that favorite. But right now he is open to those five schools. He is going to get his shot to visit those schools and at the end then he will come out and make a legitimate decision in where he is going."
Harris can not pinpoint the exact number of offers Dixon has but assures everyone that Dixon has his pick of schools.
"It is a big number," Harris said.
Dixon's final five have all been on the ball trying to keep in touch with him.
"I think all five of those schools have been doing a tremendous job with him," Harris said.
With the plethora of offers Dixon holds, Harris is confident that Dixon has narrowed his list down the schools that fit him best.
"We feel he chose those schools based on the fact he looked at all of the schools that he wanted to pretty much look at in Florida," Harris said. "But he was impressed with the Rutgers coaches in terms of what they were trying to do and their programs they have that fit his situation based on kids t he knows from Miami that went to Rutgers under his situation that are doing well."
Being a special education student, some may have worries about Dixon being able to qualify, but Harris said Dixon is doing fine.
"Right now we feel that he will be on track to qualify," Harris said. "We feel positive and he feels positive."
Rutgers and South Florida have been to the Dixon household for in-home visits thus far.
Dixon is still some time away from making a decision but Harris adds that former teammates who play football at Dixon's top five could be an influence in his final decision.
"Sometimes people do not say that but me realistically and knowing the relationship that kids have playing any competitive sport you have to have a great relationship with your teammates," Harris said. "So I know when one moves on and goes somewhere and still communicates and the kid is doing well then they will try and follow in that situation. Sometimes your buddies pull you in."
Harris says that Dixon is still good friends with Johnny Dingle, who signed with Florida in the Class of 2003 but could not qualify to play football for the Gators.
With four of Dixon's five visits scheduled for Florida schools, the odds of him staying in the state of Florida are great. But Harris is quick to say that Rutgers isn't out of the picture yet.
"They are in there and are on the board as well. I won't call them out," Harris said. "He feels good with that and he feels good with the people."
Dixon attended camps over the summer at Ohio State, USF and UF. While at the Florida camp, Florida defensive line coach Red Anderson made sure that Dixon knew he had an offer from Florida at the conclusion of the camp. Since then, Anderson has been recruiting Dixon with a passion and Harris has nothing but high marks for Florida's defensive line coach.
"He is a great guy," Harris said. "We talk a lot and he comes visit the kids. He does a great job."
Dixon will play in the California-Florida All-Star bowl and Dade-Broward County All-Star game to conclude his high school career. After this time, he will finish out his visits and will announce his decision on where he will play his college football when he can sign his national letter of intent on Feb. 4.
"He will go down to Signing Day," Harris said.