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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Grant Dixon, LB, Marist College

Grant Dixon
Grant Dixon is best known as “Captain America” at Marist College being a well-recognized leader of their defense. He recently told his story to Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Grant Dixon
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 230 lbs
  • Position: LB
  • College: Marist College
  • Twitter: @Grant__Dixon

Tell us about your university/college. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I recently graduated as a double major in Finance and Economics. I enjoyed my academic experience at Marist and I am looking forward to beginning my MBA program while playing my final season of college football this fall.

The Marist Football team does a great job at setting up various volunteer programs that get the team involved in the community. One of the best experiences I have had at Marist was the special olympics events we held in the basketball gyms as an athletic department. It not only brought the entire department together for a great event, but it brought so much joy to the guests and their families participating.

Marist College Football is a part of the PFL. The PFL is a Division I FCS non-scholarship football conference with 10 members across the country. Knowing this going in I was looking for a way to help out my parents with the cost of tuition. A solution I found was to apply to be a Resident Assistant because the job offers free room and board with a meal plan. The idea sounded great, so I applied and went through the interview process. I was hired and I was a Resident Assistant for my sophomore and junior years. It ended up being a huge financial help for my family and I met three times the people I would have met if I lived off campus. 

To conclude, Marist has provided me with great experiences and introduced me to life long friends.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
Hardworking

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skillset?
I see myself in a leadership role on our team. I was elected Captain in 2018 and 2019. I would be honored to be voted to lead our team again for our 2020 season.

I play outside linebacker in our 3X3 stack defense. I feel this position suits my athletic ability well because it allows me to play as a stack backer and move out to cover when the formation presents itself. The position allows me to fly around and make plays while within my position rules. It is important to realize that defense only works if everyone works together and my teammates and I take pride in doing our jobs. Defeating a lead blocker to force the ball carrier to your teammates is as important as making the tackle. 

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Adam Trautman from Dayton who as drafted by the Saints 

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Kevin Burke impresses me the most because of his relentless work ethic. Kevin goes full speed in everything he is doing. Doesn’t matter if it is a recovery day in the weight room, he is going to be getting after it. One of the things he would do that caught my attention was each week he would print a piece of paper with something that motivates him on it and he would tape it to his squat rack. It is not a surprise that he received the iron fox of the week award. Not only is he a beast in the weight room, but he is one of the funniest guys on the team and a great teammate. 

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
I viewed the recruiting process as a struggle because my dreams of playing quarterback at the next level never panned out the way I wanted. At the time I felt like a failure, but as I received interest to be recruited as an athlete my hopes to play college football became attainable. The great part is my struggle turned into opportunity and I am extremely thankful for the Marist Football program for taking a chance on a 185 lb quarterback to come play at Marist. At first I was hesitant at the idea of playing linebacker considering I haven’t played linebacker since middle school, but the coaches told me that was my fastest way to the field. I visited the campus on a recruit weekend and I loved it. The campus was amazing, the guys on the team were great, and the school itself is a good school. I remember thinking to myself this is a great fit as long as I can build myself into a linebacker. Fast forward to now, I have had a blast with football and I was able to build my body up each year to shape myself into a linebacker. The unlimited meal plan and Coach Suma’s workouts is what got me to the point I am at now. My struggle turned into a tremendous opportunity through hard work, dedication, and the help and guidance of all my coaches, teachers, family, and teammates.     

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I grew up playing football, baseball, basketball, and lacrosse. I think I would have played lacrosse. I loved playing growing up and I only played during the lacrosse season. I think if I dedicated more time to lacrosse instead of football I could have played in college. Football has always been my favorite sport. 

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I am most proud of the moments that I have made my family and parents proud. Whether after a big win, after I passed a big test, or just working hard for something and achieving it. My parents have always encouraged me to try news activities and to accept challenges, and I am proud when I can achieve them. I am proud of all of my achievements whether going to college, playing football, becoming captain, having internships, getting dean’s list, and graduating college. My biggest philosophy that I am living by now is one my linebackers coach Mike Kagafas reminded me of the other day. “Don’t leave any stones unturned” I am a firm believer of giving it everything you have because I don’t want to look back and think I could have done this or that. As long as I try and give it my all, I can only look back and be proud of what I have achieved. 

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
I would have to say one my most memorable plays would have to be when I had a pick six against Bryant. I couldn’t believe I actually scored for the first time since high school. I have to thank my former teammates  Willie Barrett and Wes Beans for blocking so I was able to run it back to score. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? 
I have grown up a New York Giants fan. My favorite athlete when I was little was Tim Tebow when he played for the Florida Gators. 

What is your favorite comfort food?
I love pizza. I have always loved pizza and there is nothing like a nice slice after a game at Luigi’s Pizza. 

Do you have a favorite movie or actor?
Matthew McConaughey. I recently watched The Lincoln Lawyer and I thought it was a great movie. 

What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I enjoy going to the beach, listening to music, going for car rides, and hanging out with friends. My secret talent is I played the french horn from 5th through 12th grade.

Who or what motivates you the most?
I am motivated most by my parents and brother. They have always supported me through all of my activities growing up. 

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