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Notre Dame Football

Get to Know 2025 Irish Commit Davion Dixon, a NASCAR Fanatic from a Military Household

September 22, 2023

On April 21, four-star defensive tackle Davion Dixon publically announced his commitment to Notre Dame, becoming the first prospect to join the 2025 recruiting class. 

He chose the Irish over offers from schools like Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Penn State, Michigan State and Nebraska.

Other programs extended offers to Dixon shortly after, including Ohio State, Georgia and Miami, but he remains firm in his commitment to Notre Dame. He’ll return for this weekend’s top-10 class between the Irish and the Buckeyes.

For Dixon, his interest in the program goes deeper than the program’s current success. He is passionate about the program's rich history and immediately felt comfortable on campus. 

“They have the most Heisman winners,” Dixon said. “There's the Four Horsemen, I think that's pretty cool. Rudy, that's the best movie ever.  Everything about Notre Dame felt like home to me.”

Dixon became a varsity starter as an eighth grader at Belen Jesuit Prep in Miami. He was a force early in his career with 29 tackles, 12 TFLs and 4 sacks. 

He dominated once he became a high school underclassman. During his freshman and sophomore campaigns, he recorded 123 total tackles, 55.5 TFLs, 18 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 5 PBUs, per Max Preps.

This past summer, he transferred to Miami Palmetto High School without any love lost toward Belen Jesuit Prep.

“It was a good Catholic school. They had a great, great football program, Great coaches and very rigorous academics,”  said stepfather Mike Rodgers, who adopted Dixon when he was nine. “The challenge we were having was balancing academics, sports and life.”

Dixon’s commute to Belen Jesuit Prep required him to wake up before 5 a.m. to catch a chartered bus to Miami. Due to traffic, it could take longer than an hour and a half to get there.

Of course, Dixon did this for years without any issues. His grades never slipped, and he flourished on the football field, showing he’s capable of handling a demanding athletic and academic schedule. 

“A Military Child”

The day after his commitment, Dixon sat in coach Marcus Freeman’s office following the Blue-Gold game. Defensive line coach Al Washington also joined them. 

“He cares about your academics and what's after football,” Dixon said. 

Dixon and Coach Freeman have also bonded over their similar childhoods.

“Coach Freeman's background is impressive,” Rodgers said. “He’s also the son of a military man. I was a career military guy. My wife was a career military woman, so we understand his background, his upbringing. We (understand) the things he went through as a military child and Davion’s a military child. So I just think there's there's some really neat similarities that we share.”

Growing up, Dixon lived in Fort Carson, Colorado, Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Fort Sam Houston in Texas before settling in Miami.

With two parents who are combat veterans, he was also raised to value public service and being others-centered.

“Sunday is my NASCAR day”

Of course, Dixon fits at Notre Dame because he’s more than just a football nut. 

On Monday through Saturday, he dedicates himself to family, football and school and reserves one day for another passion.

“Sunday is my NASCAR day,” Dixon said. 

When he was younger, Rodgers took him to a NASCAR race in Miami as an opportunity for them to bond.

“I thought he'd like the cars and the mechanics, but he fell in love with it that day,” Rodgers said. “I was never a NASCAR fan. I just happened to have tickets. Now, he's probably as interested in NASCAR as he is in football.”

Dixon is an avid fan of Joe Gibbs Racing, the organization founded by the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach, but his interests go beyond the individual races. 

He studies the ins and outs of the sport and pays attention to the business as well. It’s even an industry that could provide potential career opportunities once Dixon’s football career ends. 

“A lot of the pit crew members are ex-football players,” Dixon said. “That's pretty cool.”

Race organizations like Hendrick Motorsports are known for recruiting former FBS football players for pit crews. That includes Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s former rear tire carrier, William “Rowdy” Harrell, an Alabama linebacker from 2009-12 who impersonated Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o on the Crimson Tide scout team ahead of the BCS title game.

“An extraordinary amount of strength is required,” Rodgers said. “Those tires and rims on those race machines are heavy, and they’ve got to be moved in seconds from behind a wall, over a wall and to the car.”

Crew members must also handle the pressure and “controlled chaos” of 12-second pit stops on national television and in front of thousands of screaming fans.

He could also see himself studying history or engineering at Notre Dame, but he’s open to pursuing marketing, business and several other majors. 

“He's always talked about wanting to do things in either the public service sector someday or in the sports industry,” Rodgers said. “But the common thread is making people happy, whether it be through service or through entertainment. I think that his driving factor is putting a smile on people's faces.”

Now at Miami Palmetto, Dixon has lofty goals for himself on the gridiron. 

He’s willing to think outside to accomplish them, even trying out yoga. 

“I just want to lead South Florida in sacks for my position,” Dixon said. “I want to help my team win a state title, their first in program history. I want to leave a name for myself down here.”

A player like Dixon also wants his impact to extend beyond the game of football, and he’s already laying the groundwork to accomplish that.

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