Excuse Rashun Dixon if he was a little rusty in his return to the gridiron this past fall.
After spending six years in the Oakland Athletics organization, Dixon decided to hang up his spikes and return to play football at Mississippi State, where he originally signed in 2008.
“I had been thinking about it for a while so I wasn’t just a spur of the moment decision,” Dixon said. “I was just starting to get burned out on baseball. I was thinking about my future and what else I could do.”
Dixon was a former four-star recruit out of Terry High School and inked with then MSU coach Sylvester Croom and was expected to join his brother Anthony in Starkville.
But after being selected in the 10th round of the 2008 MLB Draft Dixon opted to pursue a career on the diamond.
“It wasn’t that hard a decision because I really didn’t want to go to school,” Dixon said. “The money was nice enough to pass it up. I felt like I made the best decision at the time.”
Dixon went on to appear in 550 games hitting .242 with 21 triples, 59 home runs, 254 RBI, and 43 stolen bases during his minor league career but was never promoted beyond Class A Advanced. The outfielder was rated as the best athlete in the A’s farm system by Baseball America in both 2008 and 2009.
Dixon was released following the 2013 season and decided to return to the gridiron as a walk-on last fall.
“I had to knock off some rust,” Dixon said. “The first couple of weeks I was getting dominated by the defensive linemen and linebackers. It took me a while to get back used to it but I got back into the groove.”
In high school Dixon played safety and wide receiver but now at 6-foot-2, 210-pounds, he moved to tight end for his true freshman season in college.
“I had never played tight end but it wasn’t that big of a transition,” Dixon said. “I’m a lot bigger than I was in high school so I could deal with it a little bit better.”
The 24-year old appeared in two games during his initial season with the Bulldogs against Southern Miss and Vanderbilt. He recorded a solo tackle in the opener against the Golden Eagles.
MSU must replace both Malcolm Johnson and Brandon Hill at tight end and Dixon is unsure if he will find his place in the rotation in a deep talent pool at the position.
“If it happens, it happens,” Dixon said. “I’m not really expecting to get much more playing time because we’re pretty deep at the position. We’ll just see how it goes.”