When Michigan picked up a commitment from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei's Cristian Dixon, U-M landed a pledge from one of the premier wide receivers in the nation.
Dixon chose the Wolverines over offers from LSU, Oregon, Cal, USC, Texas A&M, Nebraska and Washington State, so the SI All-American candidate had plenty of options on where he could go to college. Eventually, U-M offensive coordinator Josh Gattis' offensive system and recruiting efforts paid off as Dixon opted to become the second wideout pledge for Michigan in the 2021 cycle, a total that has now grown to three.
At that time, Michigan held a commitment from wide receiver Markus Allen, but the two plays are quite different from a style perspective. Allen is a bigger prospect that is touted as having soft hands and an impressive leaping ability. Allen also runs track during the offseason, so he's worked on his speed and agility during the quarantine.
Dixon, on the other hand, is a more technically refined receiver that prides himself on making smooth released at the line of scrimmage and can run the full route tree. He's a pretty complete prospect from a receiver standpoint as he's made plays of the short, intermediate and downfield deep-third variety at the high school level already, but his competitive nature truly sets him apart. These factors all combine to give Dixon the profile of a top 10 player at his position in the 2021 class.
Here is how the SI All-American team evaluated the Michigan commit:
10. Cristian Dixon, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
6-foot-1, 185 pounds
Committed to Michigan
This top 10 list is littered with big, physical specimens who make jump balls and back-shoulder fades look routine, but Dixon is quite the opposite. He's elite because of his ability to execute as the latest example of why a strong floor is still incredibly important in the evaluation business. Playing with Bryce Young the last two years at Mater Dei in California, this rising senior produced against great competition and at every stop. Dixon is an advanced route runner with enough size and strong hands to make plays underneath as well as in traffic. A solid release package and above average speed/stride make for a reliable target who can move the chains at any level.
Playing on a very talented Mater Dei team in 2019, Dixon moved around the formation quite a bit, so he's used to different looks and has added to his versatility as a result. This season, Dixon will be viewed as the go-to receiver on the Mater Dei squad, so his numbers should balloon a bit once California makes its spring 2021 return the field.
Where do you see Dixon making the most impact when he arrives at Michigan? Can he play a bit of slot receiver on the inside or do you view him as strictly an outside pass catcher? Let us know!