Gerald Dixon will start at defensive end and Gerald Dixon Jr. at defensive tackle for South Carolina when the Gamecocks open the season Thursday night against Texas A&M in an SEC game.
They're not a father-son duo, but they are related: The Dixons are half-brothers born five months apart.
Gerald Jr. (6-foot-3, 323 pounds) is a fourth-year junior who has played extensively the past two seasons, including three starts. He is from Northwestern High in Rock Hill, S.C. His younger half-brother (6-2, 274) is a fourth-year sophomore who has had injury issues (he already has been granted two redshirt seasons), but progressed rapidly last season and made one start. He is from South Pointe High in Rock Hill, and was a high school teammate of Houston Texans rookie Jadeveon Clowney.
Gerald Jr. turned 21 in March; Gerald turned 21 earlier this month. Their dad played for South Carolina in 1990 and 1991, then played 10 seasons at linebacker in the NFL with three teams (Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers). He lives in Rock Hill, where he is an assistant coach at Rock Hill High.
This will be the first time the Dixon brothers have played on the same team since youth league football; they attended different middle schools as well as high schools, and one reason they both chose South Carolina was the opportunity to play together.
"It's been our dream to play beside each other," Gerald Dixon told The Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier. "We got to play together in little league, but got split up in middle school and high school. We made the decision to come to college together to play with each other, and to be able to start beside him is special."
Gerald Jr. concurred: "It's a great feeling to know I'm going to be beside my brother. We used to play with each in little league. It feels great to be over there with him."