Nick Lavender had a good football career at Fletcher High School. He will continue his career at Jacksonville University. 1010XL caught up with Lavender to talk about his commitment to JU.
“I took my official visit a couple weeks back and when I went to Jacksonville University, it was just a great atmosphere,” Lavender said. “All the players and coaches were really welcoming of me and my family. I just felt like it was the right place for me.”
Lavender is excited to remain in Jacksonville to play college football.
“My parents and all my past coaches from Pop Warner through high school will all be able to see me play,” Lavender said. “Plus, my little brother, who is a freshman at Fletcher, will get to see my play and I’ll get to see him play high school football as well. So, it just worked out and it’s just awesome”
Lavender played numerous positions during his time at Fletcher, so how does JU plan on using him when he arrives?
“My senior year in high school, I played defensive end, outside linebacker and tight end,” Lavender said. “At JU I’m going to probably be staying on the defensive side of the ball, playing more standup defensive end. I’m going to do whatever I can to help them out.
“I’m athletic, I’m fast and I like getting to the quarterback. I get after the ball and always try to get it out. I’m physical and wherever I’m at on the field, I feel like I can make an impact.”
Lavender says there are many memories that he will take away from his time at Fletcher, including the close-knit community atmosphere.
“How involved we are in the community and how much are community out there at the beach supports us,” Lavender said of his favorite times at Fletcher. “We have alumni coming out to support us and we have a great turnout of students at our games. The games are always packed and the energy is just out of the roof. The atmosphere is just great at every single one of our home games.”
Fletcher had missed the playoffs three years in a row coming into to Lavender’s senior season; what did it mean to Lavender to get Fletcher back into the postseason his senior year?
“It meant the world to us,” Lavender said. “Especially our defense because we had numerous starters on our defense that were seniors. We came into this past summer with the mentality that we had to make the playoffs. We would have been the only class to go our four years of high school missing the playoffs if we would have missed it this past year. That was the last thing we wanted.
“That Mandarin game at the end of the season was the one that sealed it for us and it just meant the world to the seniors.”
Finally, Lavender wanted to point out the two men at Fletcher who helped him get to where he is today, starting with Fletcher head coach Kevin Brown.
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“Coach Brown has been very involved and very supportive throughout this entire recruiting process,” Lavender said. “He always tried to get me to push myself and over the last couple of years he has always tried to get me on recruiting boards.
“He’s just been a huge role model with how involved he is in the community. He’s a great man and a great coach and he cares about us.”
Lavender also singled out Fletcher assistant coach Christopher Foy.
“He’s molded me into the man and athlete that I am today,” Lavender said. “He’s been like another father to me. There’s just not enough good I can say about the guy. I wouldn’t be who I am today and our team wouldn’t be the way we are if it wasn’t for him.
“We pride ourselves in being the strongest and most conditioned team around and he’s the one that pushes us that extra step every day to get us another step ahead of our opponents. I just want to thank him for everything he’s done for me and our team.”
Lavender expects to enroll at JU this summer.
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreen1010XL)