With the departures of Nico Collins and Giles Jackson at wide receiver this offseason, there is playing time available at the position in 2021. Cristian Dixon, an early enrollee out of Santa Ana, California, will look to carve out a role for himself as early as this season.
The story so far
Dixon originally went to school at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, California, before transferring to Mater Dei in Santa Ana. If you’re familiar with high school football outside of your local area, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Mater Dei. The school boasts an accomplished football alumni base including Matt Leinart, Matt Barkley, JT Daniels, Colt Brennan, and Amon-Ra St. Brown amongst others.
The high school transfer put quite a dent in Cristian’s prospect rankings. At Diamond Ranch, Dixon was the primary receiver. However, the roster at Mater Dei was loaded. During his junior season at Mater Dei, Dixon was the fourth option with 35 catches, 611 yards, and six touchdowns. This was good for the fourth-most receptions on the team behind Kody Epps (a former three-star, now a freshman at BYU), Kyron Ware-Hudson (a four-star enrolling at Oregon this fall), and CJ Williams (a four-star 2022 prospect with offers from every blue-blood program imaginable). Needless to say, playing time was limited at Mater Dei for Cristian.
Dixon was primed for a huge senior season when the pandemic hit, causing his senior season to be postponed. It’s rare to see a prospect with so few stats to be rated as highly as Dixon is. That speaks to the amount of potential that Jim Harbaugh and Michigan see in him.
In their latest rankings, 247 has Cristian rated as a four-star. He comes in at number 226 nationally, the 37th rated wide receiver, and the 20th best prospect out of the state of California. Blair Angula from 247 had this to say about Dixon’s skillset:
Athletic build with length. Highly projectable frame to add size without sacrificing fluidity. Dynamic pass-catcher and down-field threat. Major nuisance on the outside. Physicality to overmatch defensive backs and technical enough to be a weapon over the middle. Short strider who is still refining technique, but has major potential. Decent top-end speed. Needs to get out of breaks quicker to become more consistent. Potential multi-year starter at the Power Five level and upside as NFL Draft Day 2 selection.
Outlook moving forward
Measuring at 6-foot-2 and 187 pounds, Dixon certainly has room to build out on his frame. The other incoming receiver in the 2021 class, Andrel Anthony (6’2” and 175 pounds), is in the same boat. An offseason or two in a Big Ten strength and conditioning program will do wonders for Dixon, who does not possess elite speed or strength but has the potential to get there. He has all of the potential in the world in Josh Gattis’s offense at Michigan for what they want in a wide receiver.
It is hard to see Dixon taking snaps from the likes of Ronnie Bell or Cornelius Johnson on the outside this year. I am also expecting Mike Sainristil, A.J. Henning, and Roman Wilson to each have significant jumps in playing time this year. However, by 2023 I fully expect Dixon to be a major contributor at wide receiver. He should be in the mix by 2022 as well. With the amount of potential that he has, it would not surprise me if Dixon makes his way to the NFL after a multi-year career at Michigan.
The sky is the limit for Cristian Dixon. We just don’t know what we really have as the availability to scout him was limited, to say the least.