Elliott's honesty lands Clemson a 4-star running back


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Dixon reminds Elliott of former Clemson running back Andre Ellington
Dixon reminds Elliott of former Clemson running back Andre Ellington

Recruiting isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s plenty of false information and fake news to go around, so when a coach is straight up and honest, it can really catch the attention of a prospect.

The honesty and integrity of Clemson running backs coach and co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott are the main reasons why Butler (GA) Taylor County running back Lyn-J Dixon signed with Clemson Wednesday afternoon.

Dixon chose Clemson over Oklahoma State during a ceremony at his school and he told TigerNet shortly after the announcement that he loved everything about Clemson, but it was Elliott who put the Tigers over the top.

“I chose Clemson because of the atmosphere that surrounds the college and the coaching staff, and how the fans are,” Dixon told TigerNet Wednesday evening. “The family atmosphere and how everyone go along when I was on my official visit really stood out, but the most important thing was how Coach Elliott kept it real with me through the whole process. There were no lies.”

On Thursday Elliott was asked about his approach in recruiting and he said that just as it was with Dixon, he tries to make every prospect realize what life as a Clemson football player will be like. They are no guarantees and there is a lot of hard work.

“We don’t recruit them to de-recruit them,” Elliott said after Thursday’s bowl practice. “We recruit them to let them know this is what you are getting into. A perfect example with Lyn-J is to let him know that I am going to be here and I am going to recruit you, but we are not going to talk about the stuff that doesn’t really matter.

“We are not going to talk about Nike. We are not going to talk about 80,000 fans in the stands. We are going to talk about you and when you come in you are going to the back of the line. If I am doing my job, as a position coach, I have four dogs that have been trained and it is going to be your job to go out and beat those guys out. You don't paint the picture of something that it's not.

“That is the one thing I appreciate about Coach (Dabo) Swinney. It gives us the comfort of going in the home and saying, this is exactly what it is. So if you are not looking for structure and you are not looking for discipline, you don’t want to go to class or you are going to be a young man that is going to cause problems then this is not the right place for you. It is not personal, but when you do get here, it is personal because we care about you as a man and we are going to build you as a man. Obviously, you are a child now, but you have to transition into a man. So it is our responsibility as adults, and we are not perfect people, to make sure that we are coaching you to become a good young man.”

For Elliott, it was evident that his efforts didn’t fall on deaf ears when he could hear the excitement and jubilation from Dixon’s mother when they called with news of the commitment.

"When you talk to Lyn-J's mom for instance and you just hear how happy she is that all the hard work that she put in has paid off and that she feels comfortable and confident with the men that she's sending her young man to help him develop into the man she wants him to be. That's where I find my joy on signing day," Elliott said.

So, what kind of player is Clemson getting in Dixon? He described himself as an all-around good player with several strengths but far from a finished product.

“I would say I’m a kind of scat back. I have speed, nice vision. I can catch the ball very well and I have toughness and a nice ability in keeping my balance,” Dixon said. “The things I feel like I need to work on improving is my blocking and pretty much I want to work on everything to improve my strengths more and more by the day.”

After rushing for 5,174 yards and 73 touchdowns on 629 carries and catching 76 passes for 1,088 yards and nine scores in his high school career, Elliott compared Dixon to former Clemson running back and Houston Texan, Andre Ellington.

"I think we're going to get a dynamic playmaker. Obviously, his body type right now is a little different than what we have. He's a smaller guy.," Elliott said "The reason I fell in love with him is he reminds me a lot of Andre Ellington. When you watch his style, he has great feet, a great burst. He is fast, but he is not a blazer, but he can run.

“You look at what he has done in his career. He knows how to make plays,” Elliott said. “I think, once he gets here in our weight room, and gets on our meal plan and is around the older guys and is learning the game, I think you are going to see a guy that he is very similar to Ellington.”


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