Jaylen Dixon, Money Parks See Opportunity For Bigger Role In 2022
Salt Lake City- With Britain Covey’s departure to the NFL, receivers Jaylen Dixon and Money Parks see a big opportunity to fill their pocket-sized teammate’s shoes for the Utes in 2022. Both have shown flashes of brilliance during their time at Utah, but have the potential to have an even bigger impact going forward.
Confidence Is Key
When tasked with replacing legendary production, understanding your role, the things that go into that role and what you uniquely add to it are important. Dixon and Parks understand they are not Covey and they aren’t trying to be him. For them, it’s more about understanding what they individually bring to the table and being secure in that.
“Making sure we stay confident,” Dixon said. “I think that is the main thing. We’ve been in so long in this program that-for me at least, that we know what they need us to do and I think it’s just staying confident and being ourselves.”
The small details also matter and according to Parks, getting the details down will go a long ways as to how the 2022 receivers are remembered.
“To piggyback off what [Dixon] said, it’s about focusing on the main details,” Parks continued. “Once those are down I feel like the receiver group will be better.”
Charged with putting guys like Dixon and Parks in the best position to succeed is receiver coach Chad Bumphis who is in his second year as a coach at Utah. Dixon says Bumphis has been particularly emphasizing the “details” with his room this off-season.
“Those small things and making sure we hone in on those because there is so much that is happening,” Dixon said. “If we can just focus in on those little, small things and get those right, we will be good.”
Dixon has been in the Utah program the longest going into his fifth year. (He redshirted in 2017 and didn’t participate for the Utes in 2020 despite being enrolled in school.) Through that time, Dixon has seen his game change and improve. His comeback in 2021 was a little quiet compared to his 2018 and 2019 seasons, but he’s hoping to be better than ever in 2022.
“I’m just smarter,” Dixon said of how his game has changed since arriving on campus. “I’m recognizing defenses, recognizing coverages, recognizing that teams know my speed and know what I bring to the table. Maybe they are going to sit back a bit further or play me a bit differently.”
Parks has only been with the Utes since 2020 and will be going into his sophomore year in 2022. While he hasn’t been in the program as long as Dixon, even he sees changes to his game since coming to Utah.
“I feel like I’m just taking what the older guys are giving me and try to learn,” Parks said. “I’m more coachable. That’s my main thing is being coachable.”
Lessons From Britain Covey
Both Parks and Dixon possess similar size and speed to where they could be adequate replacements for what Covey added to the Utes’ game. Being the kind of leader Covey is, both guys say he imparted wisdom with them that they plan on taking into the 2022 season.
“For me, I think the main thing is having fun with the game,” Dixon said. “He’d come out here and no matter what, you could just see he was having fun with the game. I think it’s just about taking that and making sure I’m coming out here and using that.”
Parks said he learned from Covey to just take a play at a time and not be in too big of a rush to get big results. Sometimes patience really is the best practice.
“He always told me to take one play at a time,” Parks said. “So I just take it today.”
High Hopes For The Future
Dixon let Utah fans know what he was about back in 2018 and specifically during their Oregon and BYU games that year. Dixon amassed 56 total catches from 2018-2019 while averaging 18.4 and 14.3 yards per catch each year. In 2019 he also showed he could be formidable in the run game adding 18 rushes to his stat line for 111 yards. In 2022 Dixon is hoping to get back to that line of production to finish out his career as a Ute.
“I feel like I’ve had a few good games throughout my career here,” Dixon said. “I’m just looking to keep that going and making those same plays this year.”
Parks has also shown flashes, most memorably against USC in the Coliseum last season where he caught a 12-yard pass from Cam Rising for a touchdown to give the Utes their first win in Los Angeles in 106 years.
“It was a dream come true,” Parks said. “First catch, first career touchdown. It felt like a dream. I thought it was.”
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