Every Friday, Buckeye Sports Bulletin will be taking some time to break down Ohio State’s recruiting class of 2024 on film to see what each prospect brings to Columbus. Reviews will take place in the order in which prospects verbally committed to the Buckeyes.
Even though Sam Williams-Dixon is the lowest-rated of Ohio State’s class of 2024 commitments — slotting in as the nation’s No. 745 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings — his skill set stands out amongst the three running backs the Buckeyes have committed.
Reflected by the “athlete” designation on his recruiting profile, Williams-Dixon has a blend of both rushing and receiving skills that could make him an intriguing weapon for a collegiate offense one day. It stood out enough for Michigan State, Penn State, Pitt, Tennessee and West Virginia to all stand amongst the schools that offered him outside Ohio State.
Williams-Dixon (5-11, 203) also has a great knowledge of Buckeye culture, hailing from Pickerington (Ohio) North in the suburbs of Columbus. Let’s take a look at some of the traits that define his game.
To view the full highlight reel these clips were pulled from, visit here: https://www.hudl.com/video/3/16274939/63767e07c11a3809fca4aa84
Kickoff returns are great for showing a player’s athleticism, as it gives them space to work in the open field and use their tools and training to elude defenders.
Williams-Dixon fields the kick and allows his blocks to form in front of him, gradually gaining ground to his left. He then plants and shows great acceleration to cut up into the seam of the coverage team, slipping by two men who lacked the burst to catch up with him. He collides with another tackler and shrugs him off, showing great contact balance, then accelerates away from the opposition and is just able to stay away.
Blue-chip prospects might have more top-end speed, as defensive backs are able to catch Williams-Dixon on the tail end of this return and many of his runs. But the way he’s able to cut and accelerate allows him to make space in the open field.
This play is a quality showcase of Williams-Dixon’s receiving ability out of the backfield. His route is simple, just a swing to the left, but he executes as he’s supposed to leading into the catch, watching the pigskin until it lands in his hands and catching the ball away from his body with said mitts.
Williams-Dixon is then able to plant and cut quickly, knocking his defender a bit off-balance before throwing a vicious stiff arm. He spins around, lowers his shoulder and runs through contact for some tough extra yards.
Such a hard-nosed running style will help boost Williams-Dixon’s other traits as a runner at the next level. And his shiftiness will help in running routes.
This final clip provides a glimpse into Williams-Dixon’s style after he takes a handoff.
Getting downhill quickly, he reads the blocks in front of him and finds daylight behind his pulling guard, then surges forward. Another sharp cut and strong acceleration get him enough space to score before he can be run down by an opposing linebacker.
With his blend of traits, Williams-Dixon could eventually be a solid complement to an Ohio State backfield rotation and perhaps even find a role as a more traditional H-back in the style of former Buckeyes Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson.