MOBILE, Ala. – Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon grew up about 350 miles from Mobile in Strong, Ark. Population: 540. Fifty-five in his high school graduating class.
"Very small town," he said. "No stoplights."
Dixon has big dreams.
He's among the most accomplished college players participating in this week's Senior Bowl as part of the Cowboys-coached North squad. At Louisiana Tech, about 45 minutes from his hometown, Dixon finished his career with 87 combined touchdowns, one shy of the NCAA record.
Four of them came in the New Orleans Bowl last December, a 47-28 win over Arkansas State and the final game for Dixon and the winningest senior class in Louisiana Tech's FBS tenure. He's joined on the North squad by two college teammates, defensive lineman Vernon Butler and quarterback Jeff Driskel, a transfer from Florida in 2015.
Dixon (5-10, 212) and three other North team running backs – San Jose State's Tyler Ervin, Navy's Chris Swain and USC's Soma Vainuku – are spending the week working with Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown and the offensive coaching staff.
Darren McFadden eventually became the centerpiece of the Cowboys' running game rotation in 2015 and delivered a 1,189-yard season in only 11 games as the featured back.
Sturdily built and versatile out of the backfield – he became Louisiana Tech's all-time leading rusher by his junior year and finished his college career with 88 catches for 972 yards and 15 touchdowns – Dixon wants to show all 32 NFL teams he can be an asset, too. This month, the Senior Bowl is his platform.
"I just want to learn the offense and focus on the little things and show them that I can play football here at this level," Dixon said.
What type of player would a team be getting in Dixon?
"He's going to give his all every time he's out there, first down through third down," Butler said. "He's a competitor."