Chambers Academy senior Braxton Allen has starred as one of the Rebels’ top defenders the past few years. Last week, the hard work paid off with his first scholarship offers.
Braxton, who stands 6-foot, 170 pounds, received offers from Faulkner University and Huntingdon College last week. The interest arrived three days before Braxton led the Rebels at running back and helped the team top Tuscaloosa Academy 35-28.
“It's just exciting,” Braxton said about the scholarship offers. “It's just always something which I knew I could do. I'm just proud of myself. Hopefully, it's the first of many.”
Braxton has been a force at linebacker for the Rebels the past few years, which culminated in a standout 2018 season. He seemed to be everywhere on the field for Chambers Academy last fall, registering 112 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks and three interceptions.
Braxton’s contributions were crucial in the Rebels winning their first state title in program history. His play earned him Opelika-Auburn News Small School Defensive first team honors.
Braxton has proven himself time and time again to Rebels head coach Jason Allen, who said he is probably the best defensive player he’s ever coached.
“I wouldn't trade him for any player in this area — public, private or whatever. I know when we go to battle, he's going to get down in the foxhole with me. He's not getting out until we either win or we're dead,” Jason said. “He plays so hard. He's really, really difficult to block. He has a nose for where the ball is going to be, and then he gets there with a bad attitude. He plays angry.”
Jason said he’s heard from several schools about Braxton in addition to Faulkner and Huntingdon, including Troy, Jacksonville State, West Alabama, North Alabama and West Georgia. He also received feedback from coaches at Texas Tech, who said Braxton played the same way as former Red Raiders linebacker and eventual seven-time NFL Pro Bowler Zach Thomas.
Braxton is known for his heroics at linebacker, but he’s added additional duties with the Rebels this fall.
After the Rebels graduated their top two ball carriers in CJ Lyons and Jordan Gillespie, Braxton took on the role as Chambers Academy’s lead running back. He has wasted no time in picking up where Lyons and Gillespie left off, which includes a 27-carry, 225-yard effort in the Rebels’ latest win over Tuscaloosa Academy.
Through two games, Braxton has 46 carries for 387 yards and three touchdowns to go with 12 tackles.
Braxton explained stepping up as the top running back wasn’t too difficult given his familiarity with the offense as well as the Rebels’ excellent offensive line. He said he likes playing running back and scoring touchdowns, but there’s no contest for which position is his favorite.
“I prefer linebacker more. On defense, you get to punish people,” Braxton said.
Thanks in part to Braxton’s play on both sides of the ball, the Rebels are riding a 15-game winning streak into this week’s game against Abbeville Christian. Braxton admits that the attention from colleges is nice, but his main concern is helping Chambers Academy repeat as AISA Class A champions.
“We're just having fun and trying to put this place on the map. That's what it's all about. At the end of the day, we're just trying to win on Friday nights for now. We'll worry about all that stuff later,” Braxton said. “You're just going to have to go to work every single day, not forget where you came from and just grind.”