Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10
Wisconsin's D'Cota Dixon has been special to the Badgers on and off the field.

Wisconsin’s D’Cota Dixon rewarded for achievements on and off field, Alex Hornibrook working overtime and more

We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know — Monday through Friday — around the world of Wisconsin sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, hockey or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.

Today is Thursday, May 18, and this is what’s for breakfast.

Special kid

D’Cota Dixon has been through more in his 21 years than any person his age should have to. From overcoming a rough upbringing in South Florida to battling various forms of adversity on the football field, the Wisconsin safety is as one of best perseverance stories in all of college athletics. And it’s why he was named one of five winners of the annual Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award on Wednesday.

The award, which is determined by the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics, honors “student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics.”

As someone who fought through constant family upheaval as a kid, and overcame injuries on a yearly basis to become a vital member of the Badgers’ defense, Dixon fits the award’s description almost perfectly. A member of the Dean’s List at Wisconsin, he is the definition of student-athlete and as genuine as they come.

A lot of Dixon’s strength comes from his faith. He leans on it in good times and bad. That was on display last September when Wisconsin upset No. 5 LSU. Dixon had the game-winning interception, only to be pounded into the ground while celebrating by Tigers OG Josh Boutte. It was a cheap shot, and following the game many were calling for Boutte to be suspended. Dixon was not. Instead, a few days after the incident, he told a reporter that he and Boutte talked on the phone, he forgave him and by the end of the call they were praying together and had built a bond based on their faith.

But it’s not just faith that makes him who he is on the football field. Dixon pushes himself and is seemingly never satisfied. Take the game against Nebraska last October. It was Dixon who broke up the final pass of the night in the end zone to preserve Wisconsin’s overtime victory. Yet, when he met with reporters after the game, that wasn’t the play he was thinking about. No, he couldn’t get his dropping of an interception the play before out of his mind, pondering the ‘what ifs’ had he not knocked the ball down the next play. He couldn’t bear the thought of seeing his teammates’ faces if they had walked off the field without a win.

There are plenty more stories that capture just who Dixon is, but most of them accentuate the qualities that make him unique in college football. He’s tough, inquisitive and a thinker that doesn’t hold grudges and relies on faith and family to get through the hardest times. Few athletes have represented Wisconsin on — and off — the field better than Dixon has in his three years on campus.


At 2:24 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook tweeted this:

A little more than 30 minutes later came this tweet from former Wisconsin All-American and current Cleveland Browns LT Joe Thomas:

You can take that any way you want, but considering how he worded his tweet, it appears Thomas was doing some playful subtweeting of the quarterback at his alma mater … which is just fine. It’s the type of tweeter that Thomas is.

But it doesn’t take away from the fact that Hornibrook was looking for some workout partners during the Badgers’ monthlong break between spring ball and the start of summer conditioning. And it’s right in line with what we’ve come to expect out of the redshirt sophomore. He loves the game of football and takes almost any opportunity he can to improve himself — be it going out to California to train with noted quarterback guru George Whitfield, staying after every practice to throw with receivers or putting out a casting call for help near Philadelphia.

Hornibrook may never become an elite quarterback, but there’s not a chance it’ll be because he doesn’t work hard enough.

Big day for Bronson Koenig

The NBA draft isn’t until the end of June, but any hope Bronson Koenig has of hearing his name called will start on Thursday in Milwaukee. That is when the former Wisconsin guard will take part in a pre-draft workout with the Bucks, doing so two days after his ex-teammate, Nigel Hayes, did the same.

Koenig is surely realistic and likely knows there is little chance he gets drafted. There are only 60 picks, and there’s not a draft site around that considers him a top-60 talent in this year’s class. But that doesn’t mean he can’t make it.

There’s always room for shooters in the NBA, and there is no doubt he can light it up from the outside. The La Crosse, Wis., product is Wisconsin’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made, hit 8 of them in an NCAA Tournament game against Virginia Tech earlier this year and is fearless when it comes to taking the final shot. There are few who have worn the Wisconsin uniform who were more clutch than Koenig in his four seasons playing for the Badgers.

If Koenig wants to play professionally, and clearly he does, he’ll have the chance. Whether that’s in the NBA, the D-League or somewhere in Europe remains to be seen. But it will be, like much of his career in Madison, fascinating to watch.

Catching up

  • WATCH: Former Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt and others read negative scouting reports written about themselves before they were drafted.
  • Wisconsin’s official Twitter feed got hacked on Wednesday morning and the results weren’t pretty.
  • The Badgers handed out an offer to an in-state tight end on Wednesday, and some expect him to commit quickly.
  • A supposed Badgers fan is not a big fan of Nigel Hayes’ new hairstyle and let him know about it in an email you have to read to believe.