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UConn Football: Dixon, Herring Stand Out at New York vs. New England Challenge

Keyion Dixon turned heads and Tahj Herring put in a strong performance as Team New England topped Team New York at Stamford High School.

UConn 2016 commit Tahj Herring (right) matches up with C.J. Holmes, a 2017 target of the Huskies, during a drill at Stamford High School Saturday.
UConn 2016 commit Tahj Herring (right) matches up with C.J. Holmes, a 2017 target of the Huskies, during a drill at Stamford High School Saturday.

UConn football commit Keyion Dixon (2016, Glastonbury High) said he feels like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders after announcing his intention to play for the Huskies.

His play reflected that Saturday.

The wide receiver—who also plays quarterback and defensive back for the Tomahawks—stood out at the first New York vs. New England All-Star Challenge Saturday. Dixon gave the New England quarterbacks a long, explosive target on the outside during a 50-28 win at Stamford High School.

Nearly 50 prospects from the classes of 2016 and 2017, many of them still uncommitted, showed up to test their skills Saturday. Players who have already committed to college were representing the likes of UConn, Duke, Boston College, Michigan, Rutgers and Syracuse.

After showing off his speed and explosiveness during the morning drills and practices, Dixon scored a couple touchdowns in the seven-on-seven matchup. He did a great job shaking off defensive backs.

One of his standout plays was wrongly ruled out of bounds, but Dixon did a great job to get to the corner of the end zone and reel in a perfect pass from Newton South (Mass.) quarterback Austin Burton, a 2017 prospect.

Dixon was joined on the New England team by one of his future teammates: Suffield Academy defensive back Tahj Herring. The three-star prospect committed to UConn shortly after Dixon in June as part of a quick recruiting burst that saw Bob Diaco's program land four three-star players (Dixon is a two-star prospect) for what is expected to be a 13- or 14-player class.

In morning drills, Herring spent a lot of time going one-on-one against Cheshire Academy running back C.J. Holmes, a highly-touted prospect who has an offer from UConn. Like Dixon, Herring displayed his speed, and he did a great job reading the ball in the air.

Holmes vs. Herring

UConn target C.J. Holmes (21) participates in a drill Saturday.

Early in the game, Herring got beat a couple times by New York's wide receivers, but he was able to recover and help break up passes that would have otherwise resulted in big gains.

Along with Holmes, several players on UConn's radar were on hand for the event representing New England. Most notable among the undecideds was Cheshire Academy quarterback C.J. Lewis. The 2017 prospect already has a UConn offer without taking a varsity snap at the prep powerhouse. Of the three New England quarterbacks, Lewis had the strongest arm, without question. The short-field game did not lend itself to long plays, though he was able to make a couple happen. In the drills and practices leading up to the game, Lewis let the ball fly. It helped having receivers like Dixon, Boston College commit Scooter Harrington (Greenwich High) and Noah Gray, a 2017 prospect from Leominster (Mass.), but Lewis' arm strength and accuracy were outstanding.

After spending last year behind Delaware-bound Patrick Kehoe, Lewis is ready to jump into the starting role. UConn will likely have some competition for the in-state prospect once teams see him take snaps this season.

Windsor High wide receiver and safety Tyler Coyle was on hand for Team New England. While he does not yet have an offer from UConn, he showed his athleticism as an offensive target. He has offers from Temple, UMass, Rhode Island, Maine and Central Connecticut.