Manatee High star/South Carolina football recruit Axon arrested

Herald Staff WritersMay 21, 2009 

A star football player for Manatee High School who just completed his senior season has been arrested on a marijuana charge, according to a Bradenton Police Department report.

Running back Ben Axon, 19, was booked into the Manatee County jail just after 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to sell. He was being held on $2,500 bond.

Police reports say an officer pulled over a vehicle in the 200 block of 11th Avenue West and smelled an odor of marijuana. Axon was in the back seat.

The officer asked the driver if there was anything illegal in the vehicle and he responded no. The officer then asked Axon if he had anything illegal on him and he told the officer he did.

Axon gave the officer marijuana divided into 23 small bags and said the marijuana was his, the police report said.

School officials have not made a decision on whether Axon can graduate with his classmates on May 30.

“We’re looking into all the facts and details of the incident,” said Margi Nanney, spokeswoman for the Manatee County School District.

“We’re got to pursue and look at all the ramifications,” Nanney said. “The law enforcement officials have to do their job first.”

The Manatee High School football standout recently signed on to play football for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina in February after several universities, including Florida, Florida State, and West Virginia, courted him to play for their squads.

Manatee High coaches called Axon up to the varsity team during his freshman year, when Manatee was in the midst of its run to the Class 5A state semifinals. He spent all season with the varsity team as a sophomore playing tight end, fullback, tailback and quarterback in helping Manatee reach the 5A state semifinals again.

Axon, however, had his best year as a junior, rushing for 1,026 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also had 41 catches and threw for an 80-yard touchdown pass. The Bradenton Herald selected him as Player of the Year in 2007.

As a senior, Axon missed one game for violating team rules and rushed for 695 yards and 12 touchdowns in nine games. Axon also added 15 catches and made the Bradenton Herald All-Area Second Team.

A spokesman for South Carolina's football program said officials were aware of Axon's arrest, but said they would not have any comment.

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