On Jan. 11, Sam Williams-Dixon earned the offer he so desperately craved.
That was when the 5-foot-11, 203-pound running back from Millersburg received an offer from Ohio State, the school he grew up rooting for, with the offer coming from running backs coach Tony Alford.
“It was like a dream come true,” Williams-Dixon told Eleven Warriors. “Just being a kid from Ohio, that offer meant a lot to me and meant a lot to my family. Buckeye Nation and people that live in Ohio just love the team, and I love it too. So it meant a lot. Any kid from Ohio dreams of playing for the Buckeyes.”
Based on Williams-Dixon’s junior season alone, he more than earned it. The West Holmes standout ran for nearly 1,300 rushing yards and scored 41 touchdowns while adding 500 receiving yards.
“I’m very versatile,” Williams-Dixon said. “I can do anything, like I can be split out wide, in the slot or running back. I can definitely play a little quarterback, like a little Wildcat. So, I can be everywhere on offense. I think I’m a very evasive runner. Like a Dalvin Cook, Saquon Barkley-type playstyle I guess.”
West Holmes head coach Zach Gardner said Williams-Dixon’s best attribute is his selflessness and ability to be a “family and team guy.” Gardner also raved about Williams-Dixon’s athleticism.
“I think he's very versatile in the things that he can do,” Gardner said. “We've seen him run people over, we've seen him beat people with speed, he has the ability to not just run the football but catch the football and block. He's a very versatile, three-down running back for sure.”
As a sophomore, Williams-Dixon scored 35 touchdowns. Perhaps more integral to his development was his contributions in the passing game, as West Holmes deployed him at wide receiver on several occasions. His time as a wideout turned him into a better pass catcher and made him a proven receiving weapon out of the backfield as a junior.
“His sophomore year, due to injuries, we had to flank him out of receiver a lot,” Gardner said. “And he went out and had 1,000 yards receiving for us as a sophomore. He runs it all, he'll run our shallow routes, he runs our intermediate routes, and then he can go deep as well. He’s phenomenal at catching the football out of the backfield. Anytime you can pressure a defense horizontally as well as vertically, he obviously has the talent to do that and make a lot of plays after he does.”
Considered a three-star recruit by 247Sports’ composite rankings, Williams-Dixon is the second in-state running back Alford has offered in the 2024 class thus far, joining four-star talent Jordan Marshall. While Williams-Dixon isn’t in a rush to make a commitment, he’d like to have his recruitment wrapped up before his senior season.
“The plan right now is to make (a commitment) before the first game of my senior year,” Williams-Dixon said.
Ohio State is firmly in the mix for Williams-Dixon’s commitment, which he says will likely come down to which coach he has the best relationship with. Considering the bond Alford and Williams-Dixon have formed, OSU will be in the thick of his recruitment till the end. Other schools Williams-Dixon is considering include Rutgers, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Tennessee and Penn State. He’s also been talking with Michigan and Michigan State.
“I know a lot of people have been like telling me ‘Don't go to college for a coach,’ but like, that's what drives you there,” Williams-Dixon said. “Not just the college, the college is going to be there. But like that coach, the coaches there, the coaching staff, the players are going to drive you to that college. So the relationship, I'm trying to say, that's what is going to drive me to that place.”
Williams-Dixon said he and Alford speak around five times per week, chatting about everything from football to day-to-day life.
“It’s been very good in my opinion, like we've been talking a lot. Talking about good, bad stuff, personal stuff, that’s what type of relationship you want to have with a coach and I feel like I have that with two more coaches,” Williams-Dixon said of his relationship with Alford.
Williams-Dixon said he’s visited Ohio State seven times as a recruit, including a combination of game visits, bowl game practices, spring visits and attending a recruiting camp last June. He’s already planning his next trip to OSU.
“I’ll definitely be there in the spring for a spring practice,” Williams-Dixon said. “I might come to two or three of them.”