Almost two years ago, Johnnie Dixon wasn't sure if his college football career would continue. Talking to Cleveland.com after Ohio State's loss to Clemson in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, Dixon had this to say about his injury-plagued career:
"It's just the knees in general," Dixon told cleveland.com. "It's very frustrating when it always comes about. I have to deal with it, I have to hear people talking about it. But you still have to fight through it at the end of the day." [...]
Does he fear he'll never play because of the injuries?
"I got the same question last year," Dixon said. "But same thing, man, put it in God's hands. If he doesn't want me to play anymore, I'll sit down and pray about it. There's nothing I can do about it."
Struggling with tendonitis and other ailments, Dixon only played in five collegiate games from 2014 through 2016. In the frustration following that loss to Clemson, Dixon had every right to wonder if his playing days were over, at least at a place like Ohio State where the pressure is immense and the competition for playing time is endless. Still...
"I got back in town and a couple weeks went by and I was just thinking about it and I was like 'why not give it another shot?'"– Johnnie Dixon
The above quote is from an article dated August 10th, 2017. Johnnie recorded stats in nine games last season, and led all wide receivers with eight touchdowns (including a pivotal performance against Penn State). In this video from BTN, he credits his friendship with Parris Campbell for leading him to stay on for his breakout season:
While Dixon has been up and down in terms of production in 2018, he's still been an essential part of the offense, recording 40 catches for 644 yards and seven touchdowns.
And he saved his best for last.
In the best game of his career, tonight against Northwestern in the Big Ten championship Johnnie Dixon had seven catches for 129 yards and a touchdown, the top performance of any receiver from either team by a wide margin. It's been a hell of a journey for a Buckeye who has dealt with more adversity in just a few years than most players will see in a career, but in his final conference game Johnnie Dixon showed us both his heart and talent.