Nov. 25, 2000
You look at Nigel Dixon and wonder how Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden let him get away.
The 6-foot-10, 375-pound forward/center for Florida State’s men’s basketball team is bigger than most offensive linemen in the National Football League.
But the soft-spoken sophomore from Orlando, Fla., would rather crash the boards than crash into defensive linemen. He was recruited for football by in-state rival University of Florida and Atlantic Coast Conference foe Clemson but wanted to block shots instead of linemen.
“I never played football,” said Dixon, who is nicknamed “Big Jelly.” “I started playing basketball in the eighth grade, and I’ve kept playing.”
Dixon may answer to “Big Jelly,” but Ohio State senior center Ken Johnson can tell you the big guy isn’t all soft.
Dixon accidentally elbowed Johnson in the first half of the Buckeyes’ 90-65 win Thursday in the Great Alaska Shootout at Sullivan Arena. The impact sent the 6-11, 235-pound Johnson sprawling.
“It felt like a thousand bricks falling on me,” Johnson said. “I was thinking that he was just going to back me in, but he swung a high one on me.”
Dixon wears a size 20 shoe, and when asked what size jersey and shorts he wears, he replied, “Nigel size.”
He wasn’t joking.
According to Florida State sports information director Chuck Walsh, Nike specially made Dixon’s uniform and instead of putting sizes such as XXL on the labels, it instead put “NIGEL.”
Dixon said he has lost 50 pounds since arriving at the Tallahassee, Fla., campus but thinks he still needs to get into better shape.
Dixon had 12 points and four rebounds in 12 minutes of action Thursday.