Roxbury’s 2016 grad and former star quarterback/linebacker Grant Dixon has the possibility of accomplishing his childhood dream of being drafted into the NFL in this year’s draft, taking place on April 28-30. Agents Robert S. Roche and Michael Delle Donne of RSR Sports Management, located in Chatham, NJ, are representing Dixon through this process to find an NFL team that will be the best fit for him.
Roche and Delle Donne’s wide-ranging experience in the field makes them the ideal pair to represent Dixon. Roche, president of the firm and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) certified contract advisor, has been an NFL agent for over 20 years. He has helped negotiate contracts for NFL players, such as Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, and represent clients like former Dolphins wide receiver Leonte Carro in the NFL Draft. Roche played football as a wide receiver at Madison High School and then The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and graduated from Seton Hall University’s School of Law. Today, he is a member of the Sports Lawyers Association, on the board of the National Football Foundation, and a professor of sports management at TCNJ and Drew University.
Delle Donne, Director of Player Engagement for RSR Sports Management and NFLPA certified contract advisor, handles numerous aspects of the company, including identifying prospective talent, recruiting, conducting NFL Draft and contract research, pre-draft logistics, off-the-field player marketing, and the development of relationships with brands. He received his undergraduate degree in Sport and Recreation Management with a minor in General Business at Temple University while spending three seasons as a student assistant with the school’s football team. Delle Donne later went on to graduate school at Seton Hall University, where he obtained his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Sport Management.
When Delle Donne first saw Dixon, he identified the four traits that NFL agents look for in players: speed, athleticism, twitchiness, and explosiveness. Both Dixon’s physical and personal characteristics made him stand out to other players Delle Donne has seen and represented. Being a converted quarterback caught Delle Donne’s eye because he had experience playing safety on special teams. Along with Dixon’s versatility, his humble personality and intelligence made him the perfect player for Roche and Delle Donne to represent.
Dixon first took up football at the age of eight years old. Playing in the NFL has “been a dream of mine since I was a little kid,” Grant explained. Although he played flag football in kindergarten and first grade, it was not until second grade that he was eligible to play full pads football. After his parents signed him up that year, Dixon immediately fell in love with the sport. At Roxbury High School, Grant played as a quarterback under legendary coach Cosmo Lorusso where he became a two-time captain with the six-single game, seven-season, and six career school records, proving that he could succeed at the next level. However, “nothing was really panning out for scholarship offers for quarterback,” he mentioned. Since every school is looking for only one quarterback, the position is highly competitive. In his senior year, Grant went on a visit to Marist College. Their coaches “told me my fastest way to get to the field was to play linebacker," he said. While Dixon only weighed around 180lbs, he committed to Marist and ultimately decided based on where he knew he would get playing time and where he would be close to home.
As a freshman, Dixon got a lot stronger and heavier. He entered their strength program and played as a scout team player as a red shirt freshman.. The following spring, the coaches started working him onto the field as a linebacker. “I just dedicated everything to playing linebacker, and ever since then, I’ve loved it.” In his sophomore and junior years, Grant became a two-year captain. One week before his team had to report to camp for his fifth year, Marist canceled their season because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Dixon spent the rest of the fall in 2020 taking MBA classes and living in his off-campus housing with his teammates in hopes of having a spring season. Yet, Head Coach Jim Parady was nervous that their spring season would get canceled as well. He helped Grant get into the transfer portal that year because he did not want him to wait until fall 2021 to play again. “I never wanted to leave Marist. If I went back, I would’ve been a three-time captain,” he explained. Despite the unexpected decision Dixon had to make, he committed to Youngstown State (YSU) to finish his collegiate career. They had a brand new coaching staff, so it “seemed like a great fit.” During his four-year career at Marist (2016-2019), Dixon had 183 total tackles, 20 TFLs, 8.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles.
The transition from Marist to YSU happened in what Dixon describes as a “blink-of-an-eye.” “I showed up on January 3rd I think, and a month and a half later, we were in North Dakota playing North Dakota State.” Grant attended YSU for 11 months, where he completed his MBA and started in all seven of his games at linebacker. He led the team with 55 total tackles and 40 solo stops, had seven-or-more tackles in five contests, and finished the season with six TFLs, two sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and one interception. Dixon became First-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection, the first Penguin linebacker to be named first-team all-conference since 2007.
For the past two months, Dixon has been training at TEST Football Academy in Martinsville, NJ, six days a week to prepare for his March 24th YSU pro-day. While there is still some time before the NFL Draft, Dixon is confident that he will stack up against the other players and compete. His mindset throughout this entire process has been “prepare, work hard, and good things will happen,” no matter what position he is playing. Dixon is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish his dream of playing in the NFL and is more than ready to take his playing to the next level.
High School (Class of 2016): Two-time First-Team All-Group 4, Two-time Northwest Jersey Conference Player of the Year, Two-time Daily Record Morris County Player of the Year, Morris County Football Coaches Association Player of the Year, New Jersey Football Coaches Association Super 100 All-State Team, and Three-time George Bocchino Memorial Award Winner for Outstanding Back.
Marist (2016-2019): Second Team Pioneer Football League (PFL) All-Academic, Honorable Mention All-PFL, Second Team PFL All-Academic, PFL Academic Honor Roll, College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District, First Team All-PFL, First Team PFL All-Academic, PFL Academic Honor Roll
YSU (2020-2022): Named to the MVFC All-Newcomer Team, First-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference