Two Murray athletes sign letters of intent with Utah schools
Murray High School’s Braxton Jones will take his football skills to Southern Utah University this fall. (Murray High School)
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Two Murray High School seniors have joined about 36,000 of their counterparts, over the past few months, in signing national letters of intent. But that’s about the only thing Braxton Jones and Madelyn Flower have in common. One is a mountain of a young man, who signed on the dotted line to play offensive tackle on the Southern Utah University football team. The other is a lifelong[LL1] swimmer, who’s taking her skills to Brigham Young University.
“The biggest human being I have met in person” is how SUU Thunderbird Head Football Coach Demario Warren describes Braxton on the Cedar City school’s official website. He then adds, “He (Braxton) has a two-inch less wingspan than (Utah Jazz Center) Rudy Gobert. His upside is amazing. He’s going to be something to look forward to in a couple years.”
Murray High School Athletic Director Keeko Georgelas is equally impressed. “I’ve not had the opportunity to coach Braxton, but I did have him as a student. He’s a hard worker and has a ‘big time’ body. If he works at it, Braxton has the potential to go all the way to the show (NFL).”
At 6-foot-6-inches and 270 lb., Braxton has lettered for the Spartans three times in football and twice in basketball. Besides all that size, SUU coaches are anxious to make use of his 5.35 second time in the 40-yard dash. After playing on both offense and defense at Murray High, Braxton said his new coaches have told him to expect to remain mostly on the offensive side this fall.
Braxton says he was also recruited by Dixie State University in St. George and Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, in addition to receiving a walk-on invitation from the University of Utah.
“My first contact with a Southern Utah recruiter came last summer, purely be accident,” Braxton said. “I was at Lake Powell with friends, when someone asked if I played football. That turned out to be their wide receiver coach and recruiter Jared Ursua.”
Braxton says he wants to study accounting and has already been taking advanced math classes at Murray High.
“I live every day to succeed, whether it’s on the field or in the classroom,” Braxton added. “I look forward to this next challenge.”
“Neither of my parents can swim and my mom is even scared to put her face underwater.”
Madelyn Flower says that’s the biggest reason why she and her siblings were placed on the West Valley Aquatics club swimming team at a young age. “My parents said they didn’t want us to turn out like them, when it comes to swimming.”
Starting on the team at age 5, Maddie will now leave it 13 years later to accept her BYU scholarship.
“I’m nervous about it, but also very excited,” Madelyn said. “They offered me full tuition and books… and the chance to become a better swimmer.”
Just over a year ago, as a junior, Maddie set the girls 4A state record in the 100 breaststroke. She also placed fourth in the 200 individual medley. Last fall, she had overnight recruiting trips to the University of Utah and BYU, on back-to-back weekends, before choosing to go south.
“They plan to have me swim the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes along with one other event,” Madelyn added.
When her hair’s dry, Maddie plans to study biology. “I haven’t selected a major yet, maybe pre-med.” With a 3.9 grade point average, she’s confident she can handle whatever classes come her way.
“They (BYU swim coaches and team members) really made me feel welcome, and that they wanted me on the team,” Madelyn said. “It was just a great environment, so even though I’m a little nervous to move away from home, I’m looking forward to it.”
Braxton and Maddie will both don their Murray High School graduation caps and gowns in a couple of months. But not long after that, they look forward to transforming from two Spartans to one Thunderbird and one Cougar.