Watching a college football game is a whole new experience for Jaire Alexander.
Being a South Carolina cornerback commitment for the Class of 2015 changes the way he consumes a college game, especially when it involves the Gamecocks.
“Now I’m more into my skill position,” he said. “I watch the secondary closely, the coverages and the schemes, and I also watch the special teams.”
Alexander, a 5-11, 175-pound senior at Rocky River High, can see himself competing for early playing time in the South Carolina secondary when he officially joins the Gamecocks next year.
He is on track to graduate in December and be a midyear enrollee at USC. With five defensive backs committed for this class, getting on campus early will give him a chance to start learning the playbook, he said, and will have him in the mix for spring practice.
“I’ll get a head start on everything,” Alexander said. “They really liked that I was graduating early.”
Alexander played cornerback for the first time as a junior and wasn’t sure if he’d play receiver or secondary in college. Originally committed to UNC Charlotte, he reopened his recruitment after hearing from such schools as Louisville, Connecticut and Kansas State.
USC defensive backs coach Grady Brown visited Rocky River in the spring and watched Alexander’s film.
“He liked my athleticism at the corner position,” Alexander said. “I didn’t have much technique, but he liked my knack for the ball and how I can go get it. He gave me some things I needed to work on in order to get an offer from South Carolina.”
Alexander spent as much time as he could in the spring working on technique one-on-one with his secondary coach at Rocky River.
The extra work paid off with an offer from the Gamecocks after a skills camp in June. Alexander followed through with a commitment to USC a few days later. The chance to play early and compete in the SEC were among the top selling points for the Gamecocks.
He plays a number of roles for Rocky River, including receiver, cornerback, kick returner and punter. He blocked a kick against South Mecklenburg on Friday and has three touchdowns in two games. (An 80-yard score was called back because of a penalty.)
Among his goals as a senior: being more explosive, improving his core strength, working on his leadership skills and preparing himself for the next level of football.
Alexander watched closely last week as Texas A&M piled up 511 passing yards on the Gamecocks. His assessment includes optimism.
“I was really shocked that A&M came out with so much fire and intensity,” he said. “I see spots that we need to work on. It’s nothing that isn’t fixable.”
The Next Class: Look for features, photos or videos on South Carolina's Class of 2015 commitments every Monday during the football season.