Mackensie Alexander looking confident, 'extremely quick' in Clemson workouts

Immokalee's Mackensie Alexander gets the defensive play call from the sideline during the second quarter of their 5A-Region 3 game at Immokalee on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. The Indians defeated the Wildcats 35-13. Scott Butherus/Staff

Immokalee's Mackensie Alexander gets the defensive play call from the sideline during the second quarter of their 5A-Region 3 game at Immokalee on Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. The Indians defeated the Wildcats 35-13. Scott Butherus/Staff

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Freshman Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander is already showing why his recruiting profiles had five stars on them.

In summer workouts, senior Tigers linebacker Spencer Shuey has seen exactly what makes the south Florida product so good.

“He’s just extremely quick,” Shuey said. “Even when he makes a false step, his closing speed is unbelievable. He’s not a huge guy, but he plays like he is. He’s definitely confident in himself and confident in his ability.”

Alexander is listed 5-11 175 with a 4.4 40-time.

“He’s been great,” said Shuey. “He’s fit in well with us. He’s extremely physical and quick. We’re definitely hoping for him to grasp the concept of the defense come camp and definitely rely on him to step in and take that role on at such a young age.”

The vets are bringing him along at that position of need this season.

“A lot of leaders in the secondary have taken him under their wing and coached him up,” he said. “He’s definitely being really coachable and gets along with them really well.

“It’s definitely vital that we can get some of those young defensive backs going in camp.”

Respect universal for Tajh: Syracuse opens its ACC slate with Clemson come Oct. 5 and senior Orange defensive tackle Jay Bromley can’t wait.

“It will be exciting,” Bromley said. “A lot of fans, an electric environment. Probably one of the biggest games in my Syracuse career. I look forward to it.”

Part of that excitement? Taking on reigning ACC Player of the Year, Tajh Boyd.

“It’s a challenge that you look forward to,” said Bromley. “You go against one of the top tier quarterbacks in the nation and you’re a defensive tackle? If you don’t get up for that, you’re crazy.”

Syracuse gets an extra week to prepare for the Tigers, while Clemson comes off hosting Wake Forest the week before. One comparable opponent to Clemson they faced recently is West Virginia, who the Orange romped over in the Pinstripe Bowl, 38-14, but it’s not an airtight example – the difference between the “Air Raid” and Chad Morris’ version of the spread.

“Tajh Boyd can beat you in so many ways,” he said. “He can run the ball. He can throw the ball. He has great wide receivers. WVU had great receivers, but their quarterback was a pocket passer. When the defense broke down, he had the athleticism to run, but he wasn’t going to do that. With the added pressures of him running the ball and his offensive line being that much better than West Virginia’s was and their running game better than West Virginia’s was.

“It’s an added challenge…They beat LSU. That goes to show you they’re a tough, physical football team.”

Over at Coastal Division favorite Miami, senior QB Stephen Morris admires another key quality of the Tigers' gunslinger.

“Just his ability to stay calm under pressure,” Morris said. “We talk about it all the time. He says he appreciates my game, but I really appreciate his game. In the big game, he just puts his team on his back and he stays poised. It’s an unbelievable factor.”

Boyd can spin it too.

“He can throw the ball in every single field – short throws and long throws,” said Morris. “We watch a lot of film of him against other teams. One game that stood to me was the Duke game. The touch passes he had to his receivers – the deep balls he threw to Sammy, it was amazing.”

Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas sees an entire crop of ACC QBs stepping up to the plate this season. The ACC returns five quarterbacks with 6,000-plus career passing yards for the first time ever this year.

“Tajh, (UNC’s) Bryn Renner, myself, (BC’s) Chase Rettig, Morris – all of us – we’ve got a real good chance of being a very good group, putting up a lot of yards and points this year,” Thomas said.

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Comments » 9

seldomusedreserve#284867 writes:

Brandon,

What kind of playing time are you expecting from Alexander?

rsb8931#286014 writes:

If he is as good as advertised he will help Clemson reach their goals and play a big part in the success of the team this year. He has such a great name, too. Mackenzie Alexander.

lhaselden writes:

I do not expect Alexander to start any games unless there is an injury, but I expect him to be fighting for a starting spot every week. I expect him to play in every game unless he is injured.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to seldomusedreserve#284867:

Brandon,

What kind of playing time are you expecting from Alexander?

Hard to say right now, but I'd say it depends partly on how he picks up the defense and what kind of competition some of the veterans give him. Will Garry Peters, Darius Robinson and Bashaud Breeland take hold of the starting spots? We'll find out in fall camp. He'll play regardless though.

Bleedsorange writes:

Alexander and Boulware will most likely be the 2 freshmen on d that play regularly on

TUN writes:

Don't forget Jordan Legett when it comes to playing time. He will probably start if he can pick up the offense. If he doesn't start, he will get significant playing time. I think Alexander starts like Watkins did.

TrevorT writes:

It's not impossible but very unlikely he will start. CB is one of the toughest positions for guys to transition from high school to college. Of course, I think Venables looks for any chance he can get to play him.

Lynx26 writes:

Alexander is a great talent and WILL start most of the season. Week one will be determined .... after week 4 i see him as a starter for the remainder of career. We finally have someone who is CONFIDENT and ACCEPTS challenge vs just lining up and "does his best".

CB is the EASIEST position mentally... but physically one of if not the hardest(Former 2x All American speaking. Alexander has all the physical tools, so he'll see the field with great purpose.

Peters is quick but lacks size
Breeland is best of returners but gets knicked up.
Martin is good but gives up big play and lacks confidence needed on island.

TrevorT writes:

in response to Lynx26:

Alexander is a great talent and WILL start most of the season. Week one will be determined .... after week 4 i see him as a starter for the remainder of career. We finally have someone who is CONFIDENT and ACCEPTS challenge vs just lining up and "does his best".

CB is the EASIEST position mentally... but physically one of if not the hardest(Former 2x All American speaking. Alexander has all the physical tools, so he'll see the field with great purpose.

Peters is quick but lacks size
Breeland is best of returners but gets knicked up.
Martin is good but gives up big play and lacks confidence needed on island.

I hope you're right and the kid becomes an instant superstar. You may be right because I agree completely with your assessment of the other guys at cb.

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