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Craige Saxton is No Ordinary Athlete

By Barry Every
SouthernPigskin.com
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Last year the 6-foot-1, 194-pound junior accounted for 1,778 yards and 22 scores while only throwing four interceptions.

Over the last six seasons Reidsville (Ga.) Tattnall County has epitomized mediocrity on the gridiron going (30-33) while making the playoffs just three times, never getting past the first round. Last season the Battle Creek Warriors placed fourth in Region 2-AAA and made a quick exit from the GHSA playoffs with a 42-13 loss to Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County.

Then, not long after the 2016 season, Head Coach Jeff Kaiser accepted the Statesboro (Ga.) position; bringing the former Blue Devil home to roost. Kaiser was the winningest coach in Tattnall County history accumulating a (62-55) record over 11 seasons. The Battle Creek Warriors wasted little time naming longtime assistant Nick Tatum as their next head coach.

Tatum will inherit a veteran team with expectations of breaking the string of run-of-the-mill seasons. One player he will be counting on heavily is two-year starting quarterback Craige Saxton. Last year the 6-foot-1, 194-pound junior accounted for 1,778 yards and 22 scores while only throwing four interceptions.

“There is still a lot of work to do, but I am pleased with the chemistry of this team, and the senior leadership,” Tatum said. “Craige is a key member of our team chemistry and he will have to continue to improve, but I think our togetherness will guide us through the season. When a play breaks down, which they do in high school, he always has a chance to make a play and move the sticks.”

Saxton currently has a 3.3 overall GPA with an 830 on the first take of the SAT. He currently has no offers but is receiving serious interest from Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Mercer. Several of the schools are looking at him as a dual-threat quarterback while others have noticed his elite athleticism, enquiring about his potential as a defensive back.

“Right now the two coaches that are staying in constant contact are Justin Watts of Appalachian State and Will Patterson at Mercer,” Saxton said. “They check up on me on a regular basis and always ask me how my holidays are going.”

College football coaches are constantly looking for multi-sport athletes to sign because there is a direct correlation to success on the gridiron. Saxton dominated on the hardwood averaging over 15 points per contest from his point guard position. He ended up being named First Team All-Region in Basketball. But that’s not all, as he shined on the diamond batting .319 while being named Second Team All-Region at shortstop.

“Craige has a lot of potential, I feel he has a great future in front of him as I have seen him grow up in our community,” Tatum said. “He is a three-sport athlete that hands himself admirably on and off the field; he has a great attitude and his of high character. If he continues to work on being a leader the sky's the limit for him.”

This spring Saxton was named Quarterback MVP at both the ESPFC Camp held in Pooler, Georgia and the Elite Classic Camp held in Richmond Hill, Georgia. Unfortunately he did not receive an invite to either the Nike Opening or the Rivals.com Three Stripe Camp.

“I just competed at the Mercer Camp where I ran a solid 4.65 40-yard dash while working out as a quarterback,” Saxton said. “But really I just want to play at the next level it doesn’t matter what position I play.”

Right now he has a planned camp visit to Georgia Southern this week and is headed to Miami to take part in the Adidas Three Stripe Camp at FIU. More camps will be announced once he matches up the dates with the schools that are showing serious interest in his services.

“I personally think he is a dual-threat quarterback in a spread offense or a triple-option attack,” Tatum said. “I have had college coaches ask about him as a defensive back, which I believe he would be excellent at. If he continues to progress at quarterback he can function in any offense as he is a threat with his arm and with his legs.”

Schools like The Citadel, Charleston Southern, Kennesaw State, Presbyterian and Wofford should be all over this guy. They all recruit the Peach State with a fervor, looking for superior athletes that can win football games. But Saxton has more on his mind then recruiting as he would like to finish his high school football career with a Region Championship.

“I have to be the leader for my team, not only by example but verbally,” Saxton said. “I have too not only lead on the field, but off the field. We can win, my teammates just need to know they have the ability to do so.”

Looking at Saxton’s whole body of work leaves one scratching their head to why he has not received his first offer. Superior competitors of high resolve don’t grow on trees. College coaches have to stop trying to pigeonhole prospects into one position and simply sign the best available athletes. Whether he is a quarterback, defensive back or a receiver at the next level is irrelevant; Saxton is a difference maker.