He just needs to get back into the state of Georgia.
Dixon, who was hired May 20 as the Raiders’ ninth head coach in program history, will be on campus full time starting this week and is anxious to start working with the players. So far, he’s liked what he’s seen.
“My wife and I sort of snuck down to watch the spring game,” said Dixon, who came to the Raiders from Byrnes High School in South Carolina. “I saw a lot of good kids. I saw a lot of coaches working hard. They were really getting after it.”
Dixon, who helped build North Gwinnett into a state power as defensive coordinator, said he specifically liked what he saw from the running backs and the defensive backfield, which makes perfect sense. Arguably, Walton’s two best players come from those units.
On the offensive side, rising junior K.K. Brooks rushed for more than 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns in his first season as the starter. Defensively, rising senior Taquar Stewart, who played in last year’s Elite Junior Classic, will be expected to follow in the footsteps of D.J. Smith (South Carolina) as well as Zack and Darron Blaylock (Kentucky) as the Raiders’ next premier defender.
Unfortunately, one player Walton won’t be able to count on this fall will be wide receiver and defensive back Chad Clay. Clay, a rising junior who already has scholarship offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech and others, has decided to transfer to Peachtree Ridge in Gwinnett County.
But Brooks and Stewart can expect to have their numbers called often as Dixon implements the systems he wants to run. But the new coach won’t do anything until he has started to build working relationships with everyone involved.
“I want to talk to my coaches to find out what has made them successful,” he said. “I just want everyone to be yourself. We want to do what Walton football does. No changes will ever come out of left field.”
The day after Dixon was hired, he had the opportunity to meet with players and their parents to give them an idea of what to expect.
“We had a good meeting,” Dixon said. “The most important thing is the kids. They remind me a lot of the players we had when we were at North (Gwinnett). We had a lot of good players and coaches and the coaches coached them up to a higher level. I think we have those kind of kids all the way through the program at Walton.”