Ohio 2014 Cornerback Knows UI Coaches Well

The Fighting Illini football coaching staff continues to take advantage of relationships developed at their previous schools. The Toledo contingent has excellent connections throughout the state of Ohio, and they are already targeting 2014 prospects they recruited while at Toledo. Among them is Columbus defensive back Alonzo Saxton.

Illinois has already offered 2014 defensive back Alonzo Saxton a scholarship. The Bishop Hartley athlete thinks highly of former Toledo coaches Tim Beckman, Alex Golesh and Steve Clinkscale.

"I'm very close to all the coaches that came from Toledo. My first offer was from Toledo, so when those coaches moved to Illinois, I had already formed a good relationship with them. The coaches include Coach Beckman, Coach Golesh and Coach Clinkscale.

"I admire them a lot. They really try to get to know the recruit and are interested in what's going on in your life. They're fun to talk to and be around. I haven't talked to them recently, but I plan on trying to get in touch with them again."

Saxton visited Illinois last summer before the coaching change, adding to his interest in the program.

"The camp basically included the 40-yard dash, position-specific drills, and one-on-ones. It went alright; I felt like I just did okay. I definitely feel like I could have done better. But that was a year ago, so I'm sure I have improved some since then."

Illinois and Toledo are his first scholarship offers. But numerous schools are connecting with him.

"I have OSU, Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Indiana, Cincinnati, Boston College and a few others talking to me."

Saxton is eager to check out the Illini further in the near future.

"It's very important for me to set up a visit to find out as much as I can about Illinois. When I can, I want I see how practices are, how the team unity is and how players interact with one another.

"On the campus side, I'll look at a variety of things, including housing, campus size, available courses and just the overall atmosphere I get from it."

Both Saxton and Bishop Hartley had good seasons in 2011.

"It went really well. We had a successful season, making it all the way to the third round of the playoffs.

"I felt like I contributed a lot to the team's success. When the team needed me, I felt I stepped up to perform the task I was assigned to do."

The 5'-11", 175 pounder acclimated to varsity ball well despite being a sophomore.

"Honestly, I didn't really feel pressured this year. I carried a lot of confidence with me when I stepped on the field, which therefore made me comfortable to do what needed to be done. So my confidence compensated for the 'expected pressure' that younger players sometimes feel."

Saxton says he has good instincts for defensive back.

"I can anticipate where the qb is going to throw and break on the ball quick enough to get an interception. I think I contribute the most during special teams when I'm returning kicks or punts, and at db when the offense is passing. At returner, I have good field awareness and know how to find the opening and get upfield."

He wants to improve his run support.

"I definitely need to work on identifying the run when the offense is running and coming up sooner to help stop the ball. Generally, my first thought is pass, so sometimes I'm hesitant to come up when the play is a run."

Saxton is excited about the 2012 season and has a good understanding of what it takes to achieve lofty goals.

"Next season can be historic in our school's history. Not only do we expect to win the state championship, but we hopefully will also do it by being undefeated. That would be the first time Bishop Hartley has ever gone undefeated. So we expect to have a great season with great players to help contribute.

"We just have to live off the principles that our coach has set up for us: playing mistake free, depending on fundamentals, and playing with a championship caliber effort. With those three principles, we can accomplish our goal at hand."

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