One of the most frightening experiences for a football player this fall will come when it dawns on a tiny defensive back or not-so-fast linebacker that he has been assigned to cover 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end Bryce Dixon of Ventura St. Bonaventure.
"It's mismatch everywhere," a giddy Dixon says.
Taller, bigger and faster than most of those trying to contain him, Dixon is an offensive weapon waiting to be unleashed.
"Athletically, he's a freak," former St. Bonaventure coach Todd Therrien said during the summer.
Dixon has been dunking a basketball since the eighth grade.
"I think he can do anything," Therrien said. "He can run, he can catch, he can jump."
He also is developing as a blocker, which will be important when he plays beyond high school. Combining physicality with a little finesse is what could have him playing the sport for years to come.
"I was voted most outgoing in eighth grade," Dixon said. "I'm an outgoing person. Football is different. You have to have a different mentality."
Basketball, though, was supposed to be his sport.
"I love basketball," he said. "I would never have thought in a million years I'd be playing football."
He came into St. Bonaventure as a 6-foot, 185-pound freshman who wanted to play wide receiver. Therrien eventually told him that tight end was his position as Dixon began to fill out. And now he's heavily recruited by colleges who view him as the perfect candidate to be a versatile receiver and blocker.
"St. Bonny football — they make you tough," he said. "You've got no choice."
With big hands and athleticism, Dixon is an appealing target for quarterback Ricky Town, who can loft the ball high and watch Dixon use his strength and leaping ability to pull it down. And when he makes a catch, his size will allow Dixon to plow through potential tacklers.
"He may be an NFL guy one day," Therrien said. "It's actually fun watching him develop from wanting to be an outside receiver to moving in and blocking. If he keeps developing, he could have a really bright future."
Dixon was the relatively unknown player among the all-stars growing up in the Pacific Youth Football League on a team that went 26-0. Quarterback Brandon Dawkins and receiver Chris Davis (both of Oaks Christian) and defensive back Davonte Nunnery (St. Bonaventure) were the big-name players.
Now Dixon has thrust himself onto the big stage as a player to watch.
"Tight end is a great position to play," he said. "There's not a lot of hybrid tight ends that are fast and big."
St. Bonaventure has one and plans to take advantage of Dixon's skills.