By Charles Bennett, Greenville News
COLUMBIA - On just about any other team or in any other year, Gerald Dixon Jr. and his brother Gerald Dixon likely would be starting alongside each other on the defensive line.
The sophomores from Rock Hill just happened to come along at a time when South Carolina has arguably the best defensive line in school history.
"We try not to pay any attention to that," said Dixon Jr., who is competing with J.T. Surratt for a starting defensive tackle spot. "We just go out and play football. We're going to stay focused and be ready when our name is called."
Dixon Jr. is 6-foot3 and 318 pounds which explains why his brother, at 6-2, 268 pounds, can be called "Little G."
"Little G" is competing for a backup spot at defensive end.
"We've got a lot of talent on the defensive line," Dixon said. "I don't worry about starting."
Both have impressed defensive line coach Deke Adams.
"Junior has done a really good job and has been pushing J.T. a lot over the camp," Adams said. "I think he's getting a lot better. Little G has been banged up a little bit with a shoulder bruise, but he's coming along. I expect both to be a big asset to us this year."
It's a formidable lineup the Dixon brothers are trying to crack, with All-American and Heisman Trophy candidate Jadeveon Clowney at one defensive end, Chaz Sutton at the other, and Kelcy Quarles and Surratt at the tackles.
However, the Dixons figure to factor into the rotation. That's something that pleases their father, Gerald Dixon Sr., who played linebacker at USC in 1990 and 1991 before going on to a 10-year career in the NFL.
Dixon Jr. is the more experienced of the two. He played in 12 games last year with two starts and was in on nine tackles. Little G played in four games with a sack against East Carolina.
The brothers were born three months apart to different mothers.
"Gerald Jr. was born first, and when Gerald came along, his motherjust couldn't seem to come up with another name," Dixon Sr. said. "They're OK with it. They always have been."
And even if they don't crack the starting lineup this season, there's plenty of football ahead.
"Yeah, there's no question that they've got a bright future here," Adams said.