When Deke Adams came to South Carolina in the offseason to coach the defensive line, he inherited not only All-American end Jadeveon Clowney but also one of the country’s most confusing combination of teammates.
Adams is now coaching both Gerald Dixons, the didn’t-fall-far-from-the-tree sons of former South Carolina standout and 10-year NFL veteran Gerald Dixon.
“It took me a minute to learn who was Junior and who was not,” Adams said.
Junior is the 6-foot-3, 313-pound sophomore tackle. “G,” as he is called because of his middle name Gervais, is the 6-2, 275-pound sophomore end. Whatever they are called, it’s time for both Dixon boys to step up and contribute on the field where their father once starred.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been on the field together, but this year we have a show for them,” Junior said.
The boys have not felt like part of the same team since they were stars for their father’s youth league team, Junior said. While Junior played in 12 games as a backup last season, notching nine tackles and one interception, G played in four games and had two tackles thanks to a combination of depth at his position and injuries suffered during the season.
“Dixon Jr. played for us last season, it’s time for the other Dixon to play for us and help us,” defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said.
That Dixon is ready, he said.
“I sat out and got my head right,” G said. “The only thing I had to do was get my body in shape to fit in the role I need to be in. I think I am going to be pretty good.”
G is listed second string at end behind senior Chaz Sutton, and Junior is listed as a second-team tackle behind J.T. Surratt.
“They are young, haven’t had a lot of reps at all,” Adams said. “Gerald Jr., he is coming along, he has been banged up just a little bit. Gerald, we call him G, he’s coming along, too. He’s learning the defense. He’s learning where he fits in the defense, so he’s getting better.”
Both players, who were born five months apart, redshirted in 2011 after joining the team in the same signing class. Along with good football genes, they inherited confidence from their father, G said.
“He just tells us, whatever somebody tells you, don’t believe it, just play with all you’ve got,” G said. “Just do what we were born to do, make plays.”
That’s all the Gamecocks are asking as well.