Ashwaubenon’s Servais returning for another year at Syracuse
By Rich Palzewic
SYRACUSE, New York – Because of several factors, Airon Servais, a 2016 Ashwaubenon High School graduate, said he recently decided to return to Syracuse University for another season of college football.
“I didn’t start this past season the way I wanted and play at the level I’m used to,” said the 6-foot-6, 309-pound Servais, who has started 48 consecutive games for the Orange on the offensive line. “Toward the end of the year, I was playing how I expected, so I decided another year of playing the way I’m capable will help me for the future. I’m looking for a solid year in 2021.”
Servais also said the COVID-19 pandemic affected his decision.
“It was a different year,” he said. “Not being able to have my family and friends in the stands was tough. I didn’t want my last experience at Syracuse to be in front of empty stands. Having a losing season didn’t help, either. I want to come back and lead us to a conference championship and a bowl game.”
Syracuse plays in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) and finished this past season 1-10.
Servais said he thought the 2019-20 season would be his last at Syracuse until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“We didn’t find out we’d be granted another year of NCAA eligibility until (last) August,” he said. “Up until that point, I didn’t think I’d be coming back to Syracuse. I’m lucky to come back and get another offseason, play spring ball and be with the team. I’m excited to get another opportunity.”
The son of Troy Servais and Bethany Foley, Airon holds a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science and is pursuing a master’s degree in the same discipline.
Although his ultimate goal is to play in the National Football League, Servais said that didn’t shape his decision to play another year of college ball.
“I haven’t gotten into where I’d get drafted (if I came out this year),” he said. “I’ve been focused on what will happen next season at Syracuse and helping the team improve. I haven’t talked to many scouts, but yeah, the NFL is for sure a goal of mine.”
After redshirting his freshman year at Syracuse in 2016, Servais hasn’t missed a game since.
“I take pride in the streak I have going,” he said. “It means I’ve stayed healthy, and I’ve done a good job and built trust.”
He’s shown his versatility, starting games at center and both tackle positions.
This past season, Servais began the year at left tackle for three games before moving to right tackle for the rest of the season.
He played center during his first two seasons.
“I’m comfortable at right tackle,” said Servais. “I get to move around more, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I missed the center position a bit. I liked making the line calls and being inside with the big boys.”
Servais said he has plenty to work on during his last year in college.
“I want to improve my leadership role – I’ve done a good job in the past – and keep working on my training and technique,” he said.
Now that he’s approaching the end of his career at Syracuse, he can reflect on his time there.
“Looking back, I can’t believe how transformative it’s been,” he said. “I’ve grown up at Syracuse and learned how to live. I pay rent, have responsibilities and I’ve grown. It’s been an incredible time.”
Despite being gone from Ashwaubenon for almost five years now, the two-time, All-ACC Academic Team honoree said he still reminisces about his days playing for Mark Jonas in a Jaguars uniform.
“I come home for breaks,” said Servais. “I see my friends, and we still talk about playing football there. I still talk to my left guard at the time. I loved my time at Ashwaubenon.”
During his senior year at Ashwaubenon, Servais was credited with more than 100 pancake blocks to help the Jaguars average 407 yards of total offense per game.
Growing up only a few blocks from Lambeau Field, Servais said he could see the jumbotron at the stadium.
“On game days, I’d open up the front windows so we could hear the stadium noise,” he said. “We could hear the noise before seeing the play on television, so we knew if something good or bad was about to happen.”
Servais said even though he’s a Packers fan at heart, he’s also glad to see the Buffalo Bills doing so well.
Servais was also a teammate of quarterback James Morgan at Ashwaubenon.
Morgan, now a member of the New York Jets in the NFL, is a 2015 Ashwaubenon graduate.