Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Lindenwood Football Features Local Players
BELLEVILLE -- The Lindenwood Lynx are only a couple of days into fall practice of their inaugural season but there's already something familiar about this team. Eleven players from southern Illinois are on the roster, many of them played against each other in high school.
"It's kind of weird because you're so used to competing against them," Herrin native Antuan Davis said.
Davis spent most of his high school days plotting ways to beat rival Marion. Now he's roommates with former Wildcat Jay Riley.
"It's kind of cool being on his team now cause he's a great player but going against him, it's just different," Riley said.
For Blake Stricklin and Dan Morrison, college looks a lot like high school. Both played together at Mt. Vernon and decided to continue their careers in Belleville, despite offers from other schools.
"There's tons to be said for tradition in programs that have been around for years but it's leaps and bounds more amazing to me that we're starting this right from the beginning," Morrison said.
"It was like, 'Wow, I can be on the first football team ever to hit Belleville Lindenwood' and that was just a dream for me," Stricklin added.
Lynx head coach Jeff Fisher spent the last 15 years at McKendree College. The Carterville native got a late start in recruiting but relied on his southern Illinois ties to get started.
"I'm very familiar with that area and all those coaches and that helps a lot when you're starting something out."
Fisher says he'll continue to recruit southern Illinois in the future.
"That's where I'm from, that's the area I believe in and I know their work ethic, I know the mentality of kids, I know what I'm getting."
Lindenwood-Belleville has 22 men's and women's sports and will participate as a full member of the NAIA this season.
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