Mission Bay multipurpose athlete Dillon Baxter could have made all of the local San Diego fans happy by staying in the area and attending San Diego State, but that was never a thought in his mind as he verbally committed to USC long ago after his freshman season.
However, he backed off that commitment and opened up his recruitment after Pete Carroll left Los Angeles for Seattle and the chance to return to the NFL. The 6-foot, 205-pound physical specimen said playing for Carroll was his dream and part of his dream had died when Carroll departed leaving many to believe he would play elsewhere.
But last week, Baxter made the Trojan faithful ecstatic when the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Player of the Year announced on San Diego’s KUSI that he was reaffirming his commitment to play for USC. He should be on campus by next week as an early-enrollee, so that he is eligible to participate in spring practice.
While he declined the opportunity to attend San Diego State, he is very similar to a former Aztec by the name of Marshall Faulk. Like Faulk coming out of high school, there are questions surrounding what position Baxter will play due to his extreme versatility.
This past season, playing primarily at the quarterback position, Baxter set a new California record as he accounted for 76 touchdowns – 50 rushing and 26 passing. He also broke the San Diego Section record for rushing yard with 2,974 yards to go along with 1,922 passing yards as he led Mission Bay to the San Diego Division IV title and an undefeated season. In the championship game, he rushed for 384 yards and scored seven times.
Even though he completed 61 percent of his passes and only threw seven interceptions, Baxter will most likely be in the backfield as a tailback or taking direct snaps in the “Wildcat” formation, which Baxter has been reassured will be installed.
With great speed and precise route-running, the 2009 MaxPreps Player of the Year could also see time in the slot, ala former San Diego and USC product Reggie Bush, who Baxter is often compared to (along with another San Diego product Marcus Allen, who also played quarterback and running back in high school).
Baxter has shown the ability to catch the ball and proven to be elusive in the open field. With the departure of Damien Williams and his playmaking ability to the NFL, don’t be surprised if Kiffin tries to find a way to get Baxter the ball in space, and you can see why…