While many people know D’Cota Dixon as one of the best safeties that Wisconsin has seen in school history, relatively few people know him as man who is currently building his relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

When Dixon came to the University of Wisconsin back in 2014, he would not have considered himself religious. His family wasn’t the kind of family that went to church, and being at a school that supported him religiously was not high on his list of priorities.

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It was during his freshman year Dixon was first introduced to Athletes in Action. Dixon recalls the idea first being brought up as he sat in class with a female UW athlete, who continuously asking him if he was a Christian.

At first, Dixon ignored her requests to take him to one of the AIA meetings, but she would eventually peak his interest enough to get him to attend one of their meetings. It would be Brian Smith who would become a disciple to the freshman safety.

Dixon admits that he was curious as to what could possibly bring so much joy to a person that he just met, and his interaction with his female classmate was the last push he needed to decide to attend an AIA meeting. It was this meeting, and meeting Smith, that would be the building blocks for his relationship with Christ.

“I never understood why [she kept asking me to attend AIA],” said Dixon.” I used to ignore her. But she was so persistent in asking me, and she had a glow about it when she would ask me. I figured I would go and check it out. I’ve been going ever since.”

As Dixon has continued his career here at Wisconsin, he has also been building his relationship with his Lord and Savior. The building of his religious relationship has helped him grow in his football relationship, and vice versa.

One thing that Dixon was surprised to find, aside from Jesus, was how much finding this new religion would challenge him. Whether it was attending meetings of the AIA or interacting with the new people he met, Dixon found that the one constant in his life would be the challenges that he would face.

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However, Dixon says he didn’t believe that the challenges were bad things, and often times looked at Jesus as an example for what to do during tough times. While it might not have been his favorite thing to do, getting out of his comfort zone was something that he needed to do if he wanted to build a deeper relationship with God.

“For me,” said Dixon, “in order to get to know Christ on a personal level I have to get out of my comfort zone and I have to love people the way that he loves people. That’s what motivates me to do things, whether that be a prayer group or a Bible study.”

This love for everyone is evident when you get to talk to the UW safety, who always tries to treat everyone with the utmost respect, and always has a smile on his face. It is clear to see that the development of his religious relationship, along with the constant push to get outside of his comfort zone, has really made a positive impact in Dixon’s life.

In his time with AIA, Dixon has made it a mission of his to attend as many meetings as possible, while also leading a prayer group during the 2016-17 school year. Dixon has also stepped up to take leadership roles on the field, both within the safety position and within the defense as a whole.

One thing that Dixon is always slightly wary of is telling people that he is religious, specifically for the modern implications that it might carry. Dixon instead chooses to turn the conversation to the relationship that he is working on building, and wants to ensure that everyone knows that he is not your a-typical Christian.

“I don’t like to identify religiously, because I feel like there are a lot of politics in today’s world with religion,” said Dixon. “I just say that I have a relationship with Christ, Jesus, I have a relationship with my personal Lord and Savior.”

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This relationship, that seemingly started at the same time that Dixon began working on his collegiate football career, has been something that has continued to grow and shape the young safety over time. Dixon is constantly working on building both things, and working on constantly challenging himself to be a better person on and off the field.

For now, Dixon is just trying to do two simple things: play good football and continue to treat everyone with the same love and respect that he is shown by his Lord and Savior.