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February 12, 2009

Dixon living the life

By: Jimmy Robertson

Dixon living the life

Carlos Dixon
Former Tech basketball player Carlos Dixon spent last season playing in Korea. This season, though, he decided to take his talents to South America.

Dixon is averaging 12.3 points per game for Quilmes Mar Del Plata, a team from Argentina that plays in the Latin Basket League. He is shooting 54 percent from the floor and almost 84 percent from the free-throw line. More importantly, he’s averaged more than 27 minutes per game.

“Life is good,” Dixon said. “The weather is great right now. It just turned summer last month and my city [Mar del Plata] is right on the beach, which is awesome. The transition has been good. Just about all my teammates speak English and my coach speaks English, so that made things a lot easier.

“The food is good. I’ve been eating a lot of steak and pasta, so that’s not too bad.”

Dixon averaged 13.8 points per game his senior season at Tech in 2004-05 and led the Hokies to the NIT – their first postseason berth since 1996. He finished his career with 1,348 points.

Smith among six elected to NFL Hall of Fame

Former Virginia Tech great Bruce Smith was one of six people who were elected to the NFL Hall of Fame, as announced by the league the day before the Super Bowl.

Smith will be enshrined with Pittsburgh defensive back Rod Woodson; longtime Bills owner Ralph Wilson; the late Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas; former Minnesota guard Randall McDaniel; and the late Bob Hayes, a standout wide receiver for Dallas and the 1964 Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter dash.

Inductions will be Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.

“What a phenomenal class, and especially with having Ralph Wilson, the founding owner of the Buffalo Bills, to be inducted in the ’09 class as well,” Smith said in an ESPN article. “This is truly special.

“Just thinking about my father and all the sacrifices he and my mother made when I was a child growing up to be a man. How he wanted me to have a life better than he had. I just wish he were here. He would be extremely proud of this day.”

Smith is the NFL’s career leader in sacks with 200 in 18 years. He also was the defensive anchor for the Buffalo Bills teams that went to four straight Super Bowls in the early 1990s.

He made two all-decade teams (1980s and 1990s) after being drafted No. 1 overall in 1985. He had the most seasons with double-digit sacks (13) and the most postseason sacks (14.5). He earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1990 and 1996.

Three Hokies named to NFL all-rookie team

Former Virginia Tech standouts Eddie Royal, Brandon Flowers and Xavier Adibi each earned a spot on the NFL All-Rookie Team as comprised by both Pro Football Weekly and the Professional Football Writer’s Association of America.

Royal, a receiver picked in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft (42nd overall), set the Denver rookie record for receptions and receiving yards in a season. He caught 91 passes for 989 yards and five touchdowns, and he also returned punts and kicks. He returned 14 punts for an average of 10 yards per return and 23 kicks for an average of 26.1 yards per return.

Flowers, the 35th overall player selected, played in 14 of Kansas City’s 16 games, missing two November games with a hamstring injury. He finished with 61 tackles, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He also had two interceptions, returning one of those 91 yards for a touchdown.

Adibi, a fifth-round draft choice of the Houston Texans, earned the honor despite playing in just seven games (five starts). The linebacker finished with 35 tackles, including 27 solo stops this season.

Three enroll at Tech for the spring

Three prospects out of the 2008 football recruiting class decided to delay enrollment and instead enroll at Tech for the spring semester. The group includes Tony Gregory, Ben Barber and Eric Martin.

Gregory, a 6-foot, 180-pound running back, rushed for 641 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior at First Colonial High in Virginia Beach, Va. He was ranked the No. 19 prospect in Virginia by Rivals and the No. 31 prospect in Virginia by The Roanoke Times.

Barber, a 5-10, 190-pound athlete, played quarterback his senior season at Edison High in Alexandria, Va. He accounted for more than 2,300 yards and 32 touchdowns. As a receiver his junior year, he caught 54 passes for 1,034 yards and 12 touchdowns, while also playing on defense and finishing with 38 tackles and three interceptions. The half brother of former Tech safety Willie Pile, Barber, who was ranked the No. 29 prospect in Virginia by Rivals, figures to be a receiver or a safety.

Martin, a 6-2, 240-pound tight end, caught 22 passes for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns his senior season at Hylton High in Woodbridge, Va. He earned first-team All-Group AAA honors by The Associated Press and was rated the No. 34 prospect in Virginia by SuperPrep (No. 38 by The Roanoke Times).