BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When the Southern Miss Golden Eagles tackle East Carolina Saturday at 6:30 at Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg a standout player from the past will become the seventh football member of the Legends Club.
Hanford Dixon will be inducted during homecoming festivities during the East Carolina game.
Dixon arrived in Hattiesburg in August of 1977. He was a 6-foot, 170 pound defensive back, wide receiver and kick return specialist from Theodore, Alabama. He would develop into a premier defensive back on the college level.
"I remember the first time I came to Southern Miss, Dixon stated. " I could have gone to a lot of other schools but I wanted to come to Southern. I told the guys I'm going to start right away and I'm sure they all said, who does this guy think he is. But somewhere around the fourth game I was starting."
Dixon would end his freshman year with 44 tackles and a pair of interceptions, helping the Golden Eagles beat SEC foes Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
He added 41 tackles and four interceptions during his sophomore season, 56 tackles and one pick in his junior campaign and closed out with 47 tackles and two interceptions during his senior season in 1980.
Dixon said, "Some of the bigger games were when we played intrastate teams, like Mississippi State and Ole Miss and how we use to really get up for those games. The crowds were incredible and we didn't want to let our crowd down and it's just a shame that those rivalries haven't come back yet."
He said he also enjoyed getting the best of Alabama and Auburn a few times, teams that had so much talent, but Southern Miss was able to take it to them.
NFL teams took notice of Dixon's talents and the Cleveland Browns drafted him as the 22nd overall pick in the 1981 NFL draft. He played nine seasons with the Browns and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1986, 1987 and 1988.
Who was responsible for naming the Browns "Dawg Pound"? It was Hanford Dixon. He credits much of his NFL success to what he learned while at Southern Miss.
He'll join Reggie Collier, Brett Favre, Ray Guy, Derrick Nix, Sammy Winder and Fred Cook as the seventh member of the Legends Club.