Football notes: Burns entering NFL Draft, Dixon to transfer from Arizona
The news has not slowed down on the final day of 2020, and Thursday afternoon a couple more Arizona players decided to make decisions about their futures. Here are the latest football notes on what has been a busy day for the Wildcats.
Burns won't return for sixth season at UA, will enter 2021 NFL Draft
Lorenzo Burns thought about leaving Arizona after the 2019 season after spending four years with the program. Ultimately, after feeling the need that he needed to show NFL scouts more to be considered for the draft, the California native returned for a fifth season marking his fourth year as a staring cornerback for the Wildcats.
The NCAA is granting all players an opportunity to return in 2021 because of the shortened 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Burns will not be taking advantage of that chance. Instead, he announced Thursday that he will be leaving Tucson and entering his name in the 2021 NFL Draft.
"The past 5 years have given me memories I will never forget," Burns said via a social media post. "I'm blessed and honored to have been able to represent the city of Tucson and the University of Arizona!"
Burns has made improvements each season in his career and has become the most consistent player on the defensive side of the ball during that time. He has 192 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, nine interceptions two fumble recoveries and 35 passes defended as his career with the Wildcats comes to a close.
The veteran cornerback was fourth on the team this season with 24 tackles.
Burns emerged as a playmaker early in his career as he contributed in two games as a freshman before being forced to miss the remainder of that year with an injury. However, he took over as a starter in the 2017 season and continued to hold down the boundary corner position for the Wildcats since then.
He received the team Defensive MVP award in 2019 when he was also named as an All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection. He was named an honorable mention selection by the conference this season as well.
Dixon decides to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal
Another Arizona player made a decision about his future Thursday as redshirt junior receiver Drew Dixon announced his plans to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal following a growing list of receivers to do the same over the last few weeks. The Tucson native, who played at Sabino High School, was one of the several players that decided to opt out of the 2020 season once it had already started.
Dixon was held out of the Wildcats' season opener against USC and then did not record a catch in the game against Washington the following week. He caught three passes for 46 yards in Arizona's road loss to UCLA but then decided to sit out the remainder of the games.
"My time at Arizona has been a dream come true and has helped me grow on and off the field," he said in a social media post. "I am very grateful for the offer and opportunity Coach Rodriguez and staff gave me to walk out my dreams. I would also like to thank Coach Sumlin, Brian Johnson and coach Mazzone for their lessons and guidance on and off the field. A big thanks to my teammates for the brotherhood and lifetime connections!
"I also want to thank the Wildcats fans for the unconditional support! Being here has been full of great experiences. ... Thank you to the Tucson community for your support through my years year. I will always represent the city that made me, Tucson, Arizona. After much prayer and talk with my family, I will be entering the Transfer Portal with 2 years of eligibility left."
Dixon was one of the four-star recruits former head coach Rich Rodriguez signed to play for the Wildcats, but his career never quite matched his lofty ranking. He emerged as a starter in the 2019 season and caught 14 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns, but was an inconsistent piece to the receiver group throughout that year.
His career with the Wildcats will come to an end with 17 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
Dixon will have two seasons left to play at his next stop. He joins a number of other UA receivers that have entered the transfer portal this offseason including standout contributors such as Jamarye Joiner, Stanley Berryhill III, Boobie Curry and freshman Ma'jon Wright.
UA did not sign any receivers during the early signing period this month.
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