Feb. 1, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly speaks at a press conference for national signing day at the Guglielmnio Athletics Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

Prospect Evaluation: Notre Dame Target Mackensie Alexander


Mackensie Alexander recently stated that Notre Dame was his “best option” among his remaining schools. He is currently interested in Notre Dame, Nebraska and Florida State (with several other schools hanging around the edge). Notre Dame could obviously use a Cornerback of this caliber.

Strengths

As a Cornerback at the college level, guys need to have the ability to make quick decisions every single play. Even if the play goes away from the Cornerback, he has the last pursuit angle to stop the ball carrier from scoring.

Mackensie Alexander is very quick while making his decisions. What I like about him the most is that he remembers the single most important technique as a defensive back: your first step is always backward! He reacts very quickly to the ball. This is one of his best strengths. His head is always on a swivel and his eyes on the Offensive line and Quarterback. This can be difficult to master; keeping your eye on one thing while trying to defend the receiver as well. Alexander is often in press man coverage in the film’s I have seen. Since he is ranked the second best cornerback according to the ESPN 150, that is to be expected. What really jumped out at me was his lateral movement with the flow of the Offense He never over pursued the ball carrier. Keeping his shoulder’s square helps him shed blocks and make tackles. This explains why he is great against the run. You can clearly see the intensity and emotion Alexander brings to the table. That translates to his hard hits and his nose for the ball.

Alexander’s pass coverage skills are superb. Going from his square stance to running with the receiver downfield is very fluid and comes easy to him. This is what Notre Dame has lacked in the past. Lastly, when he gets the ball in his hands on an interception or punt return you will be sitting on the edge of your seat preparing for something spectacular.

Weaknesses

Like all players he does have weaknesses and things he can improve on. But these things are not anything to fret over. Before, I stated that the skill Alexander possess when fighting off blocks is good. Although he tends to get a little high at times and then recovers to a lower position. Now this is not a hard thing to fix and I guarantee that his high school coaches get on him about this as well. Staying low on the Defensive side of the ball will always help you prevail. But the best of the best players can sometimes tend to forget about the technique and just go make a play. Alexander is that good; he can get by not using proper technique all the time, but not at the next level. As a defensive player you must be aggressive and have that edge to be the best. Alexander is very aggressive and can be over aggressive at times leading to a missed tackle or getting beat on a trick play, but I only saw very little of this and its nothing to really worry about. It happens to the best defensive guys at times. I would rather have a guy that’s too aggressive than not aggressive at all. Also, he tends to leave his feet to make tackles, which will lead to missed tackles at the college level. Delivering hard technically sound hits is what we look for on defense. Playing under control and aggressive is when you go from good to great.

Overall I see this guy as a starter in his second year for sure. Maybe even his first year if he works on a couple techniques and develops more as a football player. Notre Dame could use an aggressive corner like this that can bump and run with a receiver.

Tags: Football Notre Dame Fighting Irish