COLUMBIA, S.C.—Gerald Dixon.
It's a name Gamecock fans are likely to hear a lot next season if for no other reason than there are two Gerald Dixons playing at South Carolina.
There's Gerald Dixon Jr., a 6'3'', 318-pound defensive tackle, and his brother Gerald Dixon, a 6'2'', 268-pound defensive end who goes by "Little G" to avoid confusion.
The Dixons have thus far labored primarily as backups in the shadows of more famous teammates on the defensive line, like Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles.
With three-fourths of the starters not returning for the Gamecocks, the Dixons have a chance to start together, possibly side-by-side, on the defensive line next season.
"It's what we've been waiting for," said Dixon Jr. after a recent practice, as the Gamecocks get ready for their Jan. 1 showdown with Wisconsin in the Capitol One Bowl.
The brothers are from Rock Hill, S.C., the same hometown as Jadeveon Clowney. Dixon Jr. went to Northwestern High School, while Little G was a classmate of Clowney's at Southpointe High School.
The Dixons' father, Gerald Sr., played linebacker at South Carolina from 1990-91 before going on to a 10-year career in the NFL.
Here's his explanation for the duplicity in the names of his sons, who were born three months apart.
"Gerald Jr. was born first, and when Gerald came along, his mother just couldn't seem to come up with another name," said Dixon Sr. "Everyone's OK with it. It has never been a problem."
Both of the Dixon brothers have paid their dues at South Carolina.
They redshirted in 2011. Dixon Jr. played in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman in 2012, while Dixon played in four games.
This year, Dixon has played in all 12 games with one start and has been in on 18 tackles. Dixon Jr. has played in 11 games with one start and has 15 tackles.
Bigger and better days are undoubtedly ahead for the Dixons, as they seek to continue a defensive line legacy at South Carolina, which has produced current NFL players like tackle Travian Robertson and defensive ends Clifton Geathers, Melvin Ingram, Cliff Matthews and Devin Taylor.
Thus far, South Carolina has't exactly marketed the Dixons, but imagine the possibilities if one or both have a big year?
"Got Dixon?" with the Gamecock logo would look pretty good on a bumper sticker.
South Carolina sports information director Steve Fink, who gets paid to think of such things, is optimistic that reserve defensive end Mason Harris can somehow crack a starting lineup that includes one or more of the Dixon brothers.
Then, the Gamecocks would have the "Mason-Dixon line."
If nothing else, the Gerald Dixons stand to cause some confusion among opponents.
Just wait until some poor offensive lineman whiffs his block on one of the Geralds and has a coach in his face on the sideline: "Idiot! You were trying to block the wrong Dixon."
It's bound to happen.
All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.
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