The Tennessee Volunteers are in need of adding a defensive back to this year's recruiting class. For now, they'll have to settle for an elite 2013 cornerback pledge instead.
Immokalee, Fla. cornerback Mackensie Alexander chose the Vols today over early standing offers from Florida, South Carolina, Ohio State and Miami with interest from numerous other top-notch programs such as Southern Cal and Florida State, among others. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound athlete is rated in 247 Sports initial rankings as a four-star prospect and the No. 223 overall player in the country.
Just by reading evaluations from several recruiting services, I've gathered that Alexander showed out at the U.S. Army All-American combine last week, leading some analysts to say that he looks like he'll be an "elite cover corner." He has that trash talking swagger that cornerbacks need and was really terrorizing every wide receiver he went up against.
Though I'm not throwing out predictions, an early offer sheet like that suggests Alexander could wind up a high four-star or potentially even a five-star player.
SB Nation national recruiting analyst Bud Elliott said this about Alexander:
"Mackenzie is a great pickup. He's easily one of the five best corners in Florida for the 2013 cycle, and should only improve. Kids from that area typically get to college, work hard, and don't mess around. He's confident and will really get after receivers. "
Of course, we haven't even gotten to this year's National Signing Day, and Alexander mentioned to some analysts at the combine that his parents want him to stay in-state, so this commitment is a bit of a surprise and one UT will undoubtedly have to work to keep.The Vols have done a good job of hanging onto signees, but an elite player with offers from the Big Three will be very tough to hang onto.
Though we won't post any premium information here, the article from ESPN's Jamie Newberg includes this quote that anybody can see at this link:
"Mackensie is a tremendous player," said Jerrod Ackley, Immokalee’s football coach. "He’s a kid that can play in press coverage and in zone coverage. He’s a terrific kick and punt return guy. This kid can do just about anything on the football field."
Also, from a December article in the Naples News:
"The (recruiter) from Florida thinks Mackensie can be, if not the top cornerback in the country, one of the top three," Immokalee head coach Jerrod Ackley said. "(The recruiter) said from the film he's watched Mackensie is the most dominant corner in Florida. He can do just about anything. He's the complete package."
A ton of the credit for this commitment goes to UT wide receivers coach Darin Hinshaw, who has been an underrated but phenomenal recruiter for the Vols in Florida. Hinshaw developed a relationship with Alexander, as did defensive backs coach/recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph. He visited Knoxville for the first time this spring, and he has been timed in the low 4.4s in the 40. As a junior, he was named Class 5A first-team all-state by the Associated Press, a huge honor in such a loaded hotbed for talent.
Alexander joins Bradley Central offensive lineman Austin Sanders -- who will almost certainly be a four-star prospect -- as UT commitments for 2013. Also, JUCO wide receiver Corey Smith is still considered a commitment, though there's no telling what will occur with that situation as there have been no recent updates on him.
Welcome to Big Orange Country, Mr. Alexander.