NAPLES, Fla. - Following a strong junior season and a good showing at the largest combine in the country, Immokalee defensive back Mackensie Alexander has become a hot commodity this recruiting season.
Alexander capitalized on his recent celebrity by securing a scholarship offer to play football in a Bowl Championship Series conference. The first-team all-state cornerback verbally committed to the University of Tennessee on Thursday morning.
“I like the way (the Volunteers) play defense,” Alexander said. “They play like I play it. I don't have to go in and change. They like the man-to-man guys and use them to make things happen.”
Alexander also has offers from Florida, Miami, Ohio State and South Carolina.
Immokalee coach Jerrod Ackley said last month that several recruiters told him Alexander will be one of the most recruited defensive backs in the Class of 2013. Alexander helped himself by being named one of the top defensive backs Friday at the U.S. Army National Combine, an elite invitation-only event for 500 of the top high school underclassmen in San Antonio.
Ackley said Tuesday he was shocked by Alexander's commitment. The Indians coach said he wasn't involved with the decision, and he only heard about it from someone at ESPN.
“I don't know what to say about it,” Ackley said. “He's never even been to Knoxville. He doesn't know anyone but the recruiting coordinator. A lot goes into a decision like that, and I think Mackensie was a bit hasty.”
Ackley expects several more BCS offers to come in for Alexander and thought the junior would wait to sift through them before making a decision.
Alexander was happy to commit to the Volunteers, but seemed to leave the door open for other schools in a phone interview with the Daily News on Tuesday afternoon.
“Right now Tennessee is the best fit,” Alexander said. “There are other schools I considered, but right now Tennessee is my top school. I'm pretty sure other (offers) will come in the next couple of weeks. I still have schools I'm interested in, but right now Tennessee is No. 1.”
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Alexander was one of the top cornerbacks in the state this past season. He always defended the opponent's top receiver, and Ackley said he gave up only a handful of catches.
Alexander had 42 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and six pass deflections. He was named to the Associated Press' Class 5A all-state first team, the Florida Athletic Coaches Association all-district team and the Daily News all-area team.