Before Lausanne middle linebacker James Babb started intercepting passes and sacking quarterbacks on Friday nights, he planned for a future on the hardwood, not the turf.
“Originally I wanted to be a collegiate basketball player,” said Babb. “But once I came over to Lausanne and started being around the football program and building that up, my focus really changed.”
A four-year starter for the Lynx, Babb helped develop the Lausanne varsity football program. The Lynx played their first full, varsity season in 2013.
“I thought that we could build a program around guys like him,” said Lausanne head coach Kevin Locastro. “He certainly has not disappointed.”
Babb says the transformation from freshman year to senior year has been incredible.
“Freshman year you might hear a couple of students asking if their friends were going to the game. Now our senior year you’ve got people on Tuesdays talking about how they’re going to get to the game because they don’t want to be late to kickoff.”
Often times being a student-athlete is synonymous with being driven, and Babb is no different.
“You never want to be second to anybody,” he said. “Whether it’s your own teammate, somebody from another team or somebody in the classroom, you want to get the straight A’s and get the win on Friday nights by any means necessary.”
His future playing career remains up in the air. He has an offer from Stetson University, but he’s also had interest from some Ivy League schools. They’re waiting on his most recent ACT scores.
“If I can get the opportunity to go there I sure will because that’s going to set me up not just for my football career, but for forty years down the line, too.”
He plans to study anatomy and physiology with the goal of one day opening his own gym. For now, his main focus is on this last season with the Lynx and getting the chance to play, and win, that first weekend in December.
“Gold ball. That’s our goal. That’s the only thing we’re focused about. We take it week by week but that’s our goal in the end.”
It would be the perfect ending for Babb and his senior teammates who know they shaped something special at Lausanne.
“This is our first senior class, the first group of guys who have come in and paid their dues and now we’re all seeing the result of it. We’re able to be on the younger guys because we have the blueprint of what it takes.”