The wide receiver room at Schembechler Hall is oozing with talent. Almost every significant receiver from a season ago returns, and Ronnie Bell re-enters the conversation after missing last year with a knee injury. Behind him, there is still a lot of experience and talent in guys like Roman Wilson, Cornelius Johnson, A.J. Henning and Andrel Anthony, who all saw significant playing time in 2021.
Behind that core group are some younger guys that have been highly recruited and are eager to breakthrough. One of those guys is Cristian Dixon, a former four-star recruit. Let’s look back to how he got to Ann Arbor and where he stands on the depth chart this season.
The story so far
Dixon came from one of the most prolific high schools in the West, Mater Dei in southern California. His quarterback? Future Heisman winner Bryce Young.
His senior season was postponed due to COVID, but as a junior, Dixon had 35 receptions for 611 yards and six touchdowns.
At 6-foot-2, 197-pounds, Dixon is one of the bigger wide receiver commits Jim Harbaugh has brought in during his tenure. Here’s what his head coach said about him on National Signing Day:
“Cristian Dixon, another tall, rangy, big catch radius. He’s one of those ESPN top 150-type of players. Really good guy. And the level of competition he played in high school is arguably the best in the entire country. So, super excited about Cristian.”
Just before he mentioned Dixon, he called the 2021 class that included Andrel Anthony, “as close to (finished products) as you can be,” and, “I think they are really going to thrive here at Michigan.”
Both the freshman wideouts also got some work in with JJ McCarthy during the offseason prior to coming to Ann Arbor. Dixon stood out in the spring practices with a 50-plus yard touchdown reception in 11-on-11 drills.
However, when it came to the regular season, Dixon didn’t really see the field as a true freshman. He had just one catch for seven yards in a blowout win over Northern Illinois. It was his only appearance of the season and he earned his redshirt because of it.
Outlook for 2022
This will be a make-or-break season for Dixon, and we may not even see it transpire on the field. With a surplus of talent ahead of him, expect the sophomore’s playtime to be minimal. Especially because three more freshman receivers are incoming including Darrius Clemons, who had a huge spring game, Tyler Morris and Amorion Walker. Harbaugh called this class a group of “freak shows.”
Dixon is already likely behind classmate Anthony on the depth chart. If he isn’t careful, he could fall behind any of those three younger guys as well. There is a lot to like about Dixon, but the same can be said about every other guy around him. A standout offseason will be necessary for him to not be jumped by younger players during the season.