Steele: the Hornets calm, cool and motivated defensive leader

Bethany Stover

It was only six years ago that Steele’s football career began. Now starting defensive back in his second season with the Hornets, the sophomore has already been named player of the week by the SoCal Football Association and has recruiter’s eyes on him.

Full-time student-athlete Xavion Steele, holds high standards for himself on and off the field. From playing club sports, to high school, and now being a collegiate student-athlete, Steele has learned the commitment that it takes to be successful.

Hornets Xavion Steele, No. 25, was named player of the week by the SoCal Football Association September 16. Photo credit: Adam Aranda

During his early ages Steele was always busy with sports. The young athlete started with playing youth soccer to basketball and baseball before sticking with his love of football. Sports is where Steele learned great discipline in all areas of his life.

The star athlete’s journey has not always been clear. Steele was a starting player his freshman through junior year in Hemet, California at Tahquitz High School. He transferred during his senior season, and had to sit out five games due to transfer eligibility. Steele faces similar situations during his first semester at Golden West College before “grey shirting” and transferring to Fullerton College as a new freshman.

Facing the pressure to perform in the classroom and on the field can be heavy, but Steele consistently reminds himself how far he has come and how much work he has put in to get where he is.

“It does get nerve racking, but first and foremost it is all about staying healthy, if you don’t stay healthy you won’t go anywhere. Stay calm, cool and collected and everything is going to be okay,” said Steele.

Although it's been a challenge, Steele manages to balance school and football with a smile. Photo credit: Adam Aranda

Taking 12 units during football season, Steele is having to find balance between football, academics, work, and social life, all while being in the process of transfer recruitment. Steele has achieved a 2.9 cumulative GPA and continues to study hard everyday.

Steele has received an associates degree in social behavior and self development and looks to finish his bachelor’s degree in social behavior. The student-athlete finds great interest in helping others, either with children, sports, fitness, or in education. Steele hopes to have a career where he can help people better themselves mentally and physically everyday.

Outside of football, Steele has a passion for fitness. Steele’s father owns a fitness gym in Orange, California, where Steele works on the side as a personal trainer. Just as he uses working out as an outlet to keep his own mind and body healthy, Steele shares his knowledge while motivating another person to better themselves.

During the player’s off-season he remains with a busy schedule. Still focused on football and keeping up with the game, Steele does his best to stay just as in shape in the off season. He finds himself spending most of his free time in the weight room or hitting the field.

Other ways Steele finds balance in his hectic schedule is to spread out his classes and take more units in the off-season. Steele said he enrolls in extra summer and winter sessions to maintain on track with his academics, while also using his breaks to spend more time with friends and family.

Steele makes sure to keep his body and mind focused before game day and credits consistency to his success. Photo credit: Adam Aranda

Growing up with a father who coached football, Steele was exposed to watch even more of the game. Steele mentioned how being able to watch the game just as much as he played it has far bettered his abilities on the field. This mindset helped him when he faced challenges such as not being able to play on game-day. Staying consistent in his skill set is just as much mental as it is physical.

“If you want to be successful you must be consistent. Consistency is key,” said Steele.

Before a game, you won’t find Steele feasting in a pre-game meal. Keeping it light, the defensive back maybe munches on some fruit to feel his best. Expressing that his appetite goes away once his adrenaline kicks in.

Steele stays calm, focused and toned down hours before the game. He will listen to his favorite R&B music and starts zoning in by tuning everything else out.

“Being a defensive corner, it’s all about your mindset. It’s good to get hype on yourself, but I don’t want to waste energy jumping around and hooting. I keep it steady,” said Steele.

Steele (25) leads the FC team in solo tackles with 18 this season. Photo credit: Adam Aranda

The 2019 season has been off to a great start for the Fullerton player. After being asked how it felt to be named player of the week, Steele remained humble, he is not focused on many accolades, but rather his teammates. Steele says that unless someone texts or calls him he has no idea he has won an award.

Five NCAA Division-One universities are vying for the talent of Steele to play in their program. Steele is looking forward to going on some unofficial visits following the season.

“I have offers from University of Massachusetts, Arkansa State, San Jose State University, Southern Mississippi, and University of Hawaii,” said Steele.

Steele knows he is playing at a very high level and feels his body of work speaks for itself. So far in the 2019 season Steele leads the team in solo tackle racking up 18 and 24 overall. Steele had also intercepted a pass this season and blocked a field goal.

Xavion Steele is chasing his dreams, using his consistency as key for his success. Photo credit: Adam Aranda

“What really got me here today were my decisions. I was following myself and my own dreams,” said Steele.

The NCAA Div. 1 hopeful encourages other high school athletes to keep making good decisions as they put in the hard work. If he could go back and give his younger self advice to stay on track, Steele would say to “follow your dreams.”