By Matson Montilla
On Sept. 20, Coach Swinney told fans and reporters during Tiger Calls that senior running back Lyn-J Dixon entered his name into the transfer portal.
On Tuesday, during Coach Swinney's weekly press conference, he said that he was surprised by the news and that it was not his decision.
"It was his decision. He wanted to get an early start on the portal. I wish him luck," said Coach Swinney.
Before the news, there seemed to be a lot of tension between Dixon and Clemson throughout the season. In week one, Dixon was forced to sit out the first half against Georgia because he violated team rules. Then in week two against SC State, Dixon was able to start the game but did not receive many carries as he finished the game with only four carries for 27 yards. True freshman Will Shipley and sophomore Kobe Pace had more carries than the senior running back in both games.
After the SC State game, Coach Swinney said, "He just needs to grow up. It's just that simple. Heneeds to be a team player… He's a very good player, obviously. He's very talented. But we just need him to stay out of Spiller's dog house. That's about it." Against Georgia Tech, Dixon only received five carries for 11 yards as Shipley had 21 carries and Pace had seven.
Most thought Dixon would get the starting role before the season as he was coined the heir apparent to Travis Etienne. Dixon has had 1,420 rushing yards in his Clemson career and averaged 6.5 yards per attempt which ranks second in Clemson's football history (minimum of 100 carries). Now, it seems like he lost his starting role to Shipley and is stuck behind Pace on the depth chart.
This is not the first time we have seen a veteran player seem to be pushed out of their role early in the season for younger players. In 2018, Kelly Bryant, who led Clemson to the College Football Playoff in 2017, lost his starting job to true freshman Trevor Lawrence. Bryant ultimately found a new home at Missouri.
Then, in January, senior defensive lineman Nyles Pinckney and redshirt junior defensive lineman Jordan Williams transferred from Clemson after true freshman Bryan Breese and sophomore Tyler Davis took their projected starting roles. Pinckney is now at Minnesota, and Williams is at Virginia Tech.
Based on Dixon's talent and production, many teams will be lining up to get the former four-star and Clemson Tiger from the transfer portal.