Ofori works to become the best

Gaithersburg has produced its share of Division I athletes including Sean Stanley, Dan Atwood and Brian Boateng-Botwe over the past couple seasons. The next athlete in line for a scholarship appears to be Axel Ofori.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Ofori began the 2008 season as a starting safety and moved into the starting running back spot midway through the season -- a spot in which he excelled.

"His speed and his strength -- he runs a 4.4 flat 40 [yard dash] so he became a true breakaway threat anytime we could get him to the line," head coach Kreg Kephart said. "He ended up being our top running back by the end of the year."

Ofori rushed for more than 600 yards on the season, including a 216-yard, two-touchdown performance on Oct. 19 against Blake.

Ofori got his first taste of varsity football during his sophomore season when an injury to senior safety Atwood necessitated his call-up from the junior varsity.

From that point on Ofori proved he belonged on the varsity.

Starting at safety last year, Ofori made five interceptions, including two against Springbrook.

While Ofori holds no current offers, Kephart said Maryland, Boston College, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Penn State have all inquired about him.

For his senior season, Ofori is expected to play on both offense and defense, but Kephart hopes some junior varsity players will step up and be able to spell the senior on offense.

"[He's] still learning as a running back. He's still got to pick up on some of the nuances of playing the position," Kephart said. "But he has strength, he has speed, he can make cuts and he's just going to get better from here on out."

Kephart said Ofori is expected to attend the Nike Baltimore Combine on March 28, but a hamstring injury incurred during indoor track season could prevent him from attending.

Ofori is planning to attend senior days at Maryland, Pittsburgh, Penn State and Rutgers this spring.

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Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com