Sophomores Stephen Dix and Brandon Fields added their offers from the SEC program to their respective growing lists.
No matter what the team’s record, a scholarship offer from the Florida Gators will always have a special meeting for high-school athletes who grew up in Florida.
And so, for Dr. Phillips sophomores Stephen Dix and Brandon Fields — a linebacker and a running back for the Panthers, respectively — the news that Gators coach Jim McElwain wanted them enough to extend an offer was music to their ears.
“(Florida is) one of the top teams in SEC Football — I was looking forward to getting that offer,” Dix said. “It was one of the ones that I really wanted, considering that I want to stay in Florida to play football, mostly.”
Dix can add the offer from the Gators to a handful of offers from other Division I programs any fan of college football is familiar with: Mississippi State, Tennessee, Indiana, FAU, Bowling Green and Mercer.
Listed as a linebacker, Dix has been a standout all season for the Panthers, bouncing between linebacker and defensive end. Including Dr. Phillips’ 31-10 win over Olympia Oct. 20, Dix has 87 tackles and nine sacks.
Fields adds the offer from Florida to a list that includes UCLA, FAU and Vanderbilt. For Fields, beyond the recognition from a college football brand that he and other Floridians grew up with, the offer carries weight because of his status as a two-sports star — Field is also a standout for the Panthers baseball team.
The Gators baseball team, which won the College World Series earlier this year, had already offered the Orlando native. That makes Florida the second school to offer him in both sports, joining Vanderbilt.
At this point, the gifted athlete who has emerged as dynamic second option at running back behind senior Devodney Alford, says it is his intention to play both sports at the next level.
“I’m going to try both — at this point, I’m really to excited about doing both,” Fields said. “It’s been a dream for me my whole life.”
Fields’ first scholarship offer came for baseball from the University of Miami while he was an eighth-grader.