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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, May 18, 2016 4 years ago

Football: UConn offer to Lions DB adds to Foundation’s excitement this spring

Looking to build upon a district title and playoff appearance in 2015, as well as a strong showing in their spring game, the Lions have four players being recruited by Division I programs — including Lester Axson Jr.
by: Steven Ryzewski Senior Sports Editor

WINTER GARDEN The way Lester Axson Jr. feels about his recent scholarship from the University of Connecticut — his first Division I FBS offer — pairs nicely with the overall vibe for his Foundation Academy Lions this spring.

Axson, a rising senior defensive back, is excited and motivated by this latest development in his recruitment.

The Lions, fresh off the program’s strongest season to date and with an impressive 45 players participating in the spring season — up from 35 in 2015 — are excited and motivated after a playoff loss to rival Victory Christian. That excitement and motivation translated into a solid performance in a 48-14 spring game victory over Seffner Christian May 13.

Head coach Brad Lord said Axson is among four returning players for the Lions who are being recruited by Division I programs — a new high-mark for Foundation’s program. Lord said the Huskies’ interest in Axson is rooted in his speed and physicality as a defender. The offer came as a pleasant surprise to the rising senior.

“When UConn’s offer came about, that was a huge blessing,” Axson said at practice May 5.

Along with the likes of Evan Thompson, Jaquan Patterson and Dillon Hall, Axson should be a big part of the Lions’ plans to eclipse a district championship and run to the regional semifinals in 2015.

“He’s a great player — he’s physical, an excellent tackler,” Lord said. “Great kid, too — he’s a character kid.”

Axson said his first FBS offer has motivated him to continue working hard, and that, perhaps just as importantly, has helped inspire his teammates, also. Lord said the program has welcomed in assistant coaches from several colleges this spring and that, whenever one is on the sideline during a practice session, there is a noticeable increase in energy.

“Oh, they love it,” Lord said. “It’s been a revolving door (of college coaches) the last two weeks.”

Although the Lions looked to improve in several areas this spring, including quarterback play, one of the biggest barometers will have to wait until the fall. After playing in several critical games and two playoff contests, Lord is excited to see how this team has grown from a maturity aspect in handling pressure-packed situations.

“They’ve got big game experience now — and that’s huge,” Lord said.


Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].

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