COLUMBUS, Ohio — Johnnie Dixon is betting on himself, and Ohio State could join the wide receiver in reaping the rewards.
Dixon had arguably the most intriguing NFL draft decision of any Ohio State prospect. Because of injuries, he only had one year of contributions on tape. As such, he was likely to be a late-round pick at best. However, that injury history also could have reasonably pushed him to the NFL. If Dixon gets hurt again, a pro career might be tougher than ever.
In the end, Dixon decided to bet on himself and his health by announcing that he’s coming back to Ohio State for his fifth and final season.
— Johnnie L. Dixon III (@YoungKing_JD5) January 12, 2018
Prior to the Cotton Bowl, Dixon said he’d given some thought to his looming decision but was trying to push those thoughts until after the season was over.
“A little bit, but I mean not something that takes over my day thinking about that right now because we’ve still got to go take care of business now,” he said. “So I mean I’ve given it a little bit of thought but nothing major.”
The decision is a big one for the Buckeyes, as Dixon finally got a chance in 2017 to show what he can do. In his first season with extended playing time, he finished with 18 catches, 8 touchdowns and a team-best 422 receiving yards.
With both Campbell and Parris Campbell deciding to stay, Ohio State is expected to return its primary six receivers from the 2017 team. That means whichever quarterback wins the starting job will have an experienced group of pass catchers to rely on in his first season as a starter. Additionally, if that quarterback is Dwayne Haskins, the decision to return could pay even bigger dividends. A more passing-friendly offense is expected if he wins the job.
Dixon is taking a bit of a risk given his injury history, but he stands to gain so much more by putting a second quality season of results on tape. And if he matches or improves upon his touchdown total from 2017, the Buckeyes will have plenty to celebrate, too.