Jaxon Walker just completed eighth grade at Fort Loudoun Middle School, but he is not a typical, young student-athlete.
Walker, an incoming freshman at Loudon High School, realized an incredible dream after receiving an offer and committing June 14 to play Division 1 baseball at the University of Georgia.
Several other schools, including the University of Tennessee, have shown early interest, but he said Georgia “felt like home.”
“Coach (Scott) Stricklin (UGA head baseball coach) called, seeing how I was doing and asking a couple of questions and stuff like that, and then last Friday I called him and he offered me,” Walker said. “I asked if I could have a day or two, so I went through Saturday and Sunday because I was playing that weekend. I had a lot of time to think, and on Sunday I committed. Me and Tennessee talked a little bit, but I felt more comfortable with Georgia.”
Jason Lambert, LHS head baseball coach, has only seen Walker in a limited setting but is highly impressed with his skill set.
Walker mainly played travel ball in middle school.
“I haven’t gotten to coach Jaxon too much yet, and I kept up with him during middle school, but from what I’ve gathered and watched from the past year or so is he’s an extremely hard worker,” Lambert said. “He’s dedicated to his craft. He’s the kind of kid that’s always dreamed of playing baseball at the highest level and has been working privately with hitting and pitching instructors. Jaxon definitely wants to pursue baseball as far as he can go.”
Walker has showcased base path and outfield speed, powerful hitting velocity and a good arm on the mound.
“He (Josh Copeland, Walker’s personal coach) asked if he could video me working off the tee and video some swings during games, and he checked my exit velocity of how hard I hit off the tee and I hit 94 miles per hour,” Walker said. “Coach Stricklin was all over that, and he saw my 60-yard dash time, which was a 6.85 (seconds) and he liked that, too. I just kept putting in work, and I believe Coach Stricklin knows I’ll put in work.”
While playing travel ball, Walker was able to play against some of the nation’s top upcoming prospects.
“Travel ball is really fun because you get to travel all over the place like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, all sorts of stuff,” Walker said. “It’s fun because you meet new people and people that are just as good as you or even better, and you have to figure out how to beat them all the time. It’s just fun making good friends, too.”
Walker will continue to play travel ball in high school but will be a major part of the Redskins.
“Jaxon’s got incredible speed and is already running a sub-6.8 60-yard dash, so he’s got great leadoff speed and base stealing speed, which will also help him in the outfield,” Lambert said. “He’s got a great first step and makes direct routes to the ball. His arm strength is right there on point. Pitching-wise, he’s got great mechanics. He barrels the ball up almost every time he’s up, so the ball pops off the bat. With his speed and batting from the left side, I’m expecting a lot of extra base hits with him.”
Lambert believes Walker’s commitment is a “huge step” for a rising Loudon program that is quickly becoming a local recruiting pipeline.
Eight players have signed to play at the next level over the last two seasons.
“For someone to get an offer coming out of eighth grade, it’s extremely rare but it’s also a testament how the University of Georgia and other college coaches project him in the future,” Lambert said. “It gets a lot of buzz around his name, gets people excited about what’s going to do for our program and high school baseball. It’s a big deal for him, and it’s a big deal for our program. I said that his offer and his commitment to the University of Georgia is a big win for Loudon Redskin baseball as well.”
Walker hopes to help lead LHS to its first state title in the next four years.
“Jason’s a great guy, he’s hilarious to talk to and everyone on the team is super nice,” he said. “I’d love to work on my arm strength and would love to get around 85 or 90 miles per hour on the mound. I’d love to bring my average up a little bit, and if I bring my average up, I can drive in more runners. I just look forward to winning with them.”