By JIMMY WIGFIELD
MONTGOMERY – Mobile Christian defensive end Sterling Dixon finished his junior season by committing to Alabama, was a three-time MaxPreps All-America team and was named Class 3A Lineman of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association on Thursday.
That would be a task for most players but Dixon is not like most players.
“Next year, I’m going to try to be a captain,” Dixon said. “I want to put on 15 pounds of muscle. I just want to take over high school football.”
That’s an ominous warning from Dixon (6-3, 211), who has 172 tackles, 18 sacks and 39 tackles for loss in 2022 — all school records — though, as Leopard coach Ronnie Cottrell said, “Every game they ran away. from it or combining both. But he doesn’t run – he has to enter the ball. “
172 blocks coming from an amazing downhiller.
“I can’t remember anyone doing that on the floor,” Cottrell said. “He has an amazing ability and instinct to find the football. He has taken it to a new level for us. He has the numbers of a linebacker as well as a defensive end.”
Dixon also started every game as a freshman and led Mobile Christian in sacks and tackles for loss.
Cottrell said, “There are a lot of good players in 3A, but Sterling really deserves this honor. His production is really on the charts. This year, he really stepped up as a leader. I’m glad that he has another year to play. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do in the offseason and summer and next season. He’s set himself a high goal.”
Before heading to Alabama in the SEC — and Dixon said he’s still working hard for the Crimson Tide — the four-star prospect said he wants his final high school season to end with a state championship and is motivated to win the Blue Map. The Leopards were forced to forfeit four games in 2022 for using an ineligible player, according to the Alabama High School Athletic Association. But Mobile Christian still reached the 3A semifinals and most of that team is returning in 2023.
“That’s still on my mind every day,” Dixon said. “I want to get back what was taken from us.”
Meanwhile, Dixon, who runs a 4.59 40, is determined to take away heart, confidence and a sense of security with his incredible first step.
“I worked really hard on my pass rush all summer,” he said. “I worked on my legs; I jump rope every day. I am working on my hip replacement. I worked with my hands in different ways. I worked on reading the linemen and learning their technique and using it against them. “
Dixon said before the season that he had a three-year plan to get to the NFL and Cottrell said his maturity is reminiscent of former Christian football player Deontae Lawson, who started four games at linebacker for Alabama as a redshirt freshman. in 2022.
“But I don’t know if I’ve ever had a player work and run like Sterling,” said Cottrell. “His work ethic is unparalleled.”
Dixon has focused on becoming a student of the game, Cottrell said.
“Most players have a desire to win but not a desire to prepare,” he said. “The will to prepare is one of Sterling’s strengths. He devises a way to attack the opponent.
Leopards center Bo Cagle can get that. The 6-3, 285-pound sophomore who previously had an offer from Maryland and recorded a school record with 71 pancakes and a 96% passing grade in 2022 said it was nearly impossible to block Dixon well.
“I hate it,” Cagle said of his battle with Dixon in practice. “It’s like a blur. And it’s strong. And physical. It’s everything you could want. You have to trust your own feet and know where it’s going to go. It’s very fast, and there’s no stop. It makes you stand outside and moving it inside is very good.”
Dixon was named ASWA’s 3A Lineman of the Year over Mars Hill Bible School offensive lineman Koby Keenum and Cottage Hill Christian Academy defensive lineman Trent Thomas.
“It’s a blessing,” Dixon said. “It’s something I work on every day. I want to thank my team, my coaches, God and my parents for putting me in a position to be successful.”
Alpha and the Alabama high school principals are the athletic directors and coaches presented by Mr. Football Banquet.