SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It has been a long, rollercoaster of a ride for Jaylen Dixon, but it is all paying off in his senior season.
Dixon exploded on the scene his first two seasons at Utah in 2018 and 2019, when he had 56 catches for 932 yards and three touchdowns. But he entered the transfer portal before the Covid-shortened 2020 season, citing personal reasons.
But he decided to come back to Utah, and through five games this season, Dixon has three touchdowns, tied for third on the team behind only Dalton Kincaid and Tavion Thomas. Dixon says he has found the love of the game once again.
“I’ve just enjoyed being here,” said Dixon, who had a touchdown run and a TD catch against Oregon State. “I enjoy being around these guys. The day to day preps for the games, the grinding in the summer, the dog days of fall camp, it’s all great to me.”
Nobody is enjoying Dixon’s success this year more than his teammates.
“I’ve always seen that dude working hard,” said wide receiver DeVaughn Vele. “It was just a matter of time for him to get his moment to shine. I was the happiest dude out there seeing him score two times, not just once by twice. So it’s great to see and I know we’re going to be giving him the rock more. He’s one of those dudes we’re going to depend on.”
“I know it’s been a bumpy road for him,” said quarterback Cam Rising. “Just to get to this point, and to see him get that success has made the whole team happy.”
Head coach Kyle Whittingham is also happy Dixon is contributing again. He wasn’t sure Dixon, who is maybe the fastest player on the team, still wanted to be here. But Dixon has shown Whittingham and at the entire team that he is 100 percent committed.
“I needed to hear that he was all in, that he had got himself together and was in a good place from a mental standpoint,’ Whittingham said about why he gave Dixon a chance to return to the team. “That he was sincerely and genuinely wanting to be a part of this football team, and become a guy who would come in and be a great teammate, do what he was asked to do and play his role to the utmost of his ability. And that’s what he expressed to me.”
While he has his sites on helping Utah win another Pac-12 championship, Dixon is happy just to be happy again.
“Just being able to be back with these guys and knowing that I’m having fun again is the most important thing,” he said.