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January 4, 2011

Dixons Pick Gamecocks

ROCK HILL -- Like father, like sons.

South Carolina received a pair of commitments from the sons of a proud alumnus on Tuesday when Gerald Dixon's two boys each pledged to the Gamecocks. Gerald Sr., a USC linebacker from 1990-91 who played 10 years in the NFL, will twice have his name and his blood playing for the Gamecocks next year.

That would be Gerald Dixon and Gerald Dixon, who will finally reunite on the same football team next season.

"Today is an early Father's Day present, in January," the eldest Dixon said. "I got what I wanted. South Carolina was great for me, and I think it's going to be great for my kids, too."

The breakdown: Gerald Dixon Jr. is a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle from Northwestern High School. He goes by "Gerald" when the two spend their weekends at their father's house in Fort Mill.

Gerald Gervoris Ky'Trell Dixon is a 6-3, 265-pound defensive end from South Pointe High School, just across town. The younger of the two by five months, he goes by "Lil' G" when he and his brother are in the same room.

In 2003, the two helped win a Pee-Wee state championship for a team that had their dad as an assistant coach. The brothers, who each live with their mothers about two miles from each other, were zoned into different middle and high schools, which caused quite a few interesting Friday nights.

Especially as their father is an assistant coach at the city's third public school, Rock Hill High. It was an interesting season in 2010, Gerald Sr.'s Bearcats suffering through a trying 2-9 year; Lil' G's Stallions going 13-2 and finishing state runner-up; and Gerald Jr.'s Trojans completing a 15-0 state championship season. Gerald Jr. beat his brother and his dad in his final prep season, but didn't boast of it too loudly - his biggest wish was to get to play on the same team with his little brother again.

Now he'll get to do it on the same field where his old man played.

"When we got to high school, we wanted to play with each other," Gerald G. said. "We're glad to make the decision to play with each other."

The two thanked a sizable crowd of family and teammates that came to the town's City Hall to see them announce, then pulled matching white USC ballcaps from a silver briefcase. The caps matched Gerald G's black suit and his brother's tan suit.

"We was all on the same field together (at the Shrine Bowl), and I was thinking, 'I like this,'" Gerald Jr. said. "We wanted to play together."

The two Dixons are the 27th and 28th members of USC's recruiting class, with the Gamecocks hoping to sign five more. Two Rock Hill targets are still on the board (South Pointe's Jadeveon Clowney and Northwestern's Roderick Byers), and if the Gamecocks can add those two to the Dixons, will add four to the five current USC players who hail from Rock Hill and the surrounding area.

"We've been working on Clowney," Gerald Jr. said. Clowney was awarded a proclamation for his numerous awards during Tuesday's ceremony, but was unable to attend due to being at the ESPN Under Armour All-America game.

Lil' G has the better rankings, a three-star prospect rated the No. 11 prospect in the state and the No. 23 player nationwide at his position. Gerald Jr. is also a three-star prospect but was not listed in the state's Top 25 or national rankings at his position.

Lil' G projects as a defensive end, where he helmed the weak side this year on the opposite of Clowney. He had 132 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss and 22 quarterback hurries as a senior.

Gerald Jr. projects as a defensive tackle and had 100 tackles with 10 sacks, eight tackles for loss, 12 hurries, four forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and two interceptions as a senior. He also is one of only two Trojans in coach Jimmy Wallace's 23-year tenure to make the varsity as a ninth-grader (the other being Cookie Massey, who went on to play football and baseball at North Carolina).

Both will get their chance to add to a defensive line at USC that is going through some change but also returns a lot of experience. End Cliff Matthews and tackle Ladi Ajiboye have graduated, but tackles Travian Robertson and Melvin Ingram, plus end Devin Taylor, return.

The only problem now is trying to figure out who gets what name on the jerseys.

"We just said, 'Call us Lil' G and Big G,"" Gerald G. said. "They'll figure it out."

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