Initially, it seemed a boastful statement by Linganore head coach Rick Conner.
After all, when he compared then sophomore Ryan Dixon to senior All-State receiver C.J. Thomas it could have been seen as wishful thinking.
But the numbers back up Connor's statement and Dixon's play last season further cemented him as one of the state's more talented receivers.
"He's the same type of athlete -- he's just so smooth," Conner said of the comparison of Dixon to Thomas. "C.J. was a big, powerful receiver. Ryan is more of finesse and run by you type guy. He runs precision routes."
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Dixon made 50 catches for 982 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior last season. That performance earned him Big School All-State Honorable Mention.
Those junior year numbers compare favorably to Thomas' senior year when he made 50 catches for 867 yards and 19 touchdowns. Thomas earned Consensus All-State honors during his senior year and committed to play football for William and Mary.
While Dixon may get some comparisons to Thomas virtue of playing at the same time, Conner said he compares more favorably to another former Lancer -- Jon Moravec.
Moravec was a Consensus All-State receiver in 2003 who later played at Marshall. As a senior, Moravec made 29 catches for 650 yards and 14 touchdowns helping Linganore to the Class 3A state championship.
Dixon's junior year performance was an integral part of the Lancers' run to the Maryland Class 4A state championship game. By that time, he had already shown the type of receiver he would become during his sophomore season.
"At the end of his sophomore year he started making big plays," Conner said. "He's the one that went 70 yards against TJ [Thomas Johnson] that put us up in the last two minutes of the game. He's got that big play ability."
Playing the second receiver spot opposite of Thomas that year, Dixon made 34 catches for 577 yards and four touchdowns.
Now a rising senior, Dixon has continued to prove himself as a future Division I athlete.
At the 2009 Nike Baltimore Combine, Dixon was in the Top 10 SPARQ Ratings* of the more than 1,500 athletes in attendance.
Dixon ran a 4.60 40-yard dash, a 4.21 shuttle, leapt 32.3 inches in the vertical jump and threw the kneeling power ball 35 feet, 5 inches. Overall, Dixon's SPARQ Rating was 94.20.
Colleges are taking notice.
James Madison, Delaware, New Hampshire, Fordham and Monmouth have already made offers and, according to Conner, Richmond has him as their top-rated receiver recruit.
So while in the beginning Conner's statement may have seemed boastful, with another season similar to his junior year, Dixon could make it seem not boastful enough.
*SPARQ Rating is a mathematical equation that takes into account an athlete's performance in the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, vertical jump and kneeling power ball and turns it into a number.
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