Mississippi State closed out a stellar running back class Wednesday morning when Anthony Dixon cast his lot with the Bulldogs at a press conference at his high school. Dixon talked about why he committed, what his plans for the future are, the recruiting process and more.
"Today I came to a conclusion and I am ready to make my decision," he announced at the 10 o'clock press conference. "The school I am going to attend this year is Mississippi State."
So what made him choose the Bulldogs?
"Well, they had an opening. I went up there this weekend and had a real good time hanging out with the players and everything. I talked to coach Croom and coach Kitchens everyday when I was up there and got a real good relationship with both of them and I believe what they are telling me. Plus they got a big fullback (Bryson Davis) that I can run behind."
Who did he choose the Bulldogs over?
"I was considering Ole Miss and Southern Miss. Both of them, well what made it so hard, was that I don't think nary a one of them would have been a bad choice for me to go in and play. I just liked Mississippi State more than them."
What was the deciding factor?
"It was probably the relationship I built with them. I built good relationships with all of them, but when I went down to Mississippi State, it was a little bit better than the rest of them."
What did coach Croom say to him about the Bulldog offensive line situation?
"Last year they were kind of young, so he told me he would have all of them back and he promised me they'd be ready. Like I said, they got the big fullback already that I can run behind for a year at least. I mean that's where I wanted to be."
Will he contribute immediately?
"I am planning on playing as soon as I get up in there. Get in the weight room and do a whole bunch of running. I plan on being in shape and ready."
Dixon's dad, Anthony, also commented on the decision.
"This weekend I was impressed. In the recruiting process everybody sells you a good story, but I really think he can go in there next year and help offensively in the backfield and plus he is going to be competing against two other freshmen. If he does his homework and gets it the weight room, I think he's got a good chance to get a whole lot of playing time."
What did the elder Dixon think about coach Croom?
"He is a fantastic salesman. I mean he sold me too. He bought me this weekend too."
Dixon's mother, Velma, also shared her thoughts.
"It has been a long process and we have been going through this a year almost and out of all the coaches, Coach Croom was the one that was real with Anthony. He didn't sit down and sugar coat anything with Anthony He was straightforward. He wasn't just telling him that he would start right away, he just told Anthony if he came in worked hard, a position was open for him. To me he is just a great person. This weekend he bought all of us this weekend. He was a straightforward person and honestly I liked the way he was treating Anthony.
How did the parents feel about coach Croom stressing education?
"He did stress it and he said he would check on him every day in the classroom and if he was not there he would run the bleachers and run the track and would whatever it took to get him into that classroom and get a great education, so he did stress education a lot," Velma commented.
"It was great," her husband chimed in. "Like I told Anthony, if you get hurt playing football, that's what I keep stressing to him. Don't waste the opportunity to go down there and go to class, because you know, one play and all that can be over with. He's going to get a free education, so go down there and enjoy football and grow up as a man while you're down there."
So is Anthony ready for the SEC?
"Oh yeah, I think I am going to be ready. When I first came to Terry I knew it was going to be a challenge when I first came here. Then I got hurt my tenth grade year. I know it's going to be a challenge, going up there and playing against them big boys, but I am always ready for a challenge. I ain't never backed down from a challenge."
When did he actually decide?
"Probably Monday. Once I came home and thought about it for a whole day. Sunday I was almost sold. I was almost ready Sunday, but I just wanted to come home and think about and put things together and make sure that was the best choice. Monday when I got home I thought about it some more and made up my mind probably Tuesday morning that I was going to Mississippi State."
Are any other coaches coming in to try to sway his decision?
"Ole Miss and Southern Miss, they did try to come back in and talk to me today, but I told them I was finished talking. I just wanted to get by myself and think about it some. I knew what all of them had to offer me up to this point so I really didn't need to hear nothing else. I just wanted to think about it."
How does it feel now that it is over?
"It was a relief. Now I eat without getting interrupted. It's a relief."
Did Cordera Eason signing with Ole Miss have an impact on his decision?
"It really didn't, because you know, Mississippi State has been my leader the whole time. I'm pretty sure he is a good running back, and he wanted to Ole Miss, but Mississippi State has been my leader since day one, so it really didn't influence my decision to go to Mississippi State."
Finally Dixon's younger brother, preseason Rivals100 member Antwan Dixon, who was seated next to him throughout the press conference, added his thoughts. Did he learn anything from his brother's recruitment?
"Just don't get a cell phone. He's got high cell phone bills from the phone calls."