Jae Thaxton, a 6-2, 220-pounder from Hart County High School, has had a busy first half to his senior season. He has already racked up 86 tackles through five games. That kind of performance has made him a prospect that many top programs are recruiting.
Thaxton says that his current list includes the Tigers along with Georgia, Florida State, Miami, Florida, LSU and Notre Dame, where he has already planned an official visit in January. Commenting on the Auburn Tigers, Thaxton says, "I enjoy watching them play. They have a real strong program over there. It seems like it is on the rise."
The middle linebacker was on the AU campus in September to check out the action of the Tennessee at Auburn game. He says he was impressed with the unofficial visit. "It was a great game," Thaxton says. "The atmosphere was nice, too."
Hart County is getting ready to start its AAA Region 8 schedule this Friday as it plays host to Stephens County. Thaxton says his team is ready to bounce back after a tough 13-0 setback on the road last week against a powerful AAAAA opponent, Newnan High. "That was a pretty big challenge for us defensively," Thaxton says. "They run a spread formation offense. They had a pretty decent quarterback and athletic receivers. We had to prepare pretty hard for that game because they passed the ball almost every down and they were pretty formidable on the run, also.
"We didn't play well on offense. We made some bad turnovers in some spots and set the defense in some bad situations. We held them to 13 points and they were averaging 38 points per game so our guys did a good job."
Thaxton says the defense also had a strong game in a 10-0 opening night shutout of defending AAAA state champion Thomson. The middle linebacker had 21 tackles in that game.
Even though he has been a tackling machine so far this season, Thaxton says he is working on becoming a better player. "I just want to work harder to get better," he says. "I want to push myself to be the best I can be. That will come from working hard."
When he puts the pads on, Thaxton has a nose for the football. He says there is no secret formula to his success. "I try to get to the ball--every play," he notes. Thaxton has had plenty of experience doing just that for Hart County. He was promoted from the ninth grade team to the varsity midway through his freshman year and has been a fixture in the lineup since. He is on pace to finish his high school career with better than 500 tackles.
Thaxton, who says his most recent 40-yard dash clocking was a 4.63, also runs the hurdles and throws the discus in the spring for the track team. After football season, he plays basketball and is the returning starter at center for Hart County High, but there is no doubt that football is his best sport and it looks like there are plenty of colleges interested in giving him the opportunity to play the game after he closes his high school career.