SAN ANTONIO — Ahmad Dixon insists he’s committed to Baylor. If so, he’s redefined the term.
The Bears weren’t even mentioned when Dixon was asked of his top schools following practice for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“In no specific order, Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee,” the 6-foot-1, 200-pound defensive back from Midway High School in Waco, Texas, said during a break in pracice Thursday for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. “Those would be my top three right now.”
Then, finally, he was asked about the school that he committed to in May.
“I’m still committed,” he said.
Nearby Baylor was once a good option for a couple of reasons.
First, Dixon said his parents were concerned about their son playing far from home. However, they recently said their son he’s grown up and can choose any school he’d like.
Second, Dixon is worried about the future of Baylor coach Art Briles, who turned down an offer to interview at Texas Tech on Wednesday after a 4-8 season.
“I’m leaning towards somewhere else right now — just having mixed emotions about it,” Dixon said.
That opens the door for UT, where Dixon took an official visit in November.
“I like what (coach) Lane Kiffin and (defensive coordinator) Monte Kiffin are doing with the offense and defense,” Dixon said. “Monte Kiffin, he’s a guru. I hear about him a lot because one of my coaches (Anthony Degray) played at Tampa Bay (for Monte Kiffin) back in the day.”
Early playing time at UT is also a factor.
The Vols lose All-America junior safety Eric Berry, who will enter the NFL draft.
Alabama and Auburn have their own individual appeals.
The Tide has been recruiting Dixon for a long time and coach Nick Saban works closely with Alabama’s secondary.
“That’s like a dream come true,” Dixon said. “And then I like the city. I just like being in Alabama.”
Dixon said he’s also fond of Auburn’s coaches. He’ll take official visits to both schools in January.
Those trips make it seem unlikely that Dixon will announce his decision during Saturday’s game (TV: WBIR, noon), although he said that is a possibility.
He said he also intends to return to Knoxville before announcing his decision. This time, he’ll bring his family.
“I’m going to make time for that,” he said. “I enjoyed the visit. My parents weren’t able to visit. I want them to go back up there and see the campus and meet everybody.”
Dixon won’t be lined up at safety Saturday. He’ll be playing cornerback.
“One of the guys here was saying I have quick hips, and nice footwork,” Dixon said of a coach’s evaluation, which prompted the move.
All the colleges recruiting Dixon have him projected as a safety.
The move this week caught him by surprise and has been a bit of a struggle.
“I haven’t been doing as well as I expected, but it’s been a good experience,” he said. “My cover skills, to me, I feel like have gotten a little bit better just from me playing corner these last few days.”
Dixon, who prefers to play safety, said he’s not sure what to think about the move.
“I took it as a compliment but then also they don’t think I can hit hard enough,” Dixon said.
That means Dixon could be extra motivated if he gets an opportunity to deliver a big hit.
“No doubt about that,” he said with a smile. “If I catch somebody slipping . . . oh, man, lights out.”