Outside linebacker Donnie Alexander, from New Orleans, Louisiana, has committed to the LSU Tigers.
Alexander was an important in-state recruit for the Tigers to land—he was ranked as the No. 18 recruit from Louisiana, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings—and he has a ton of potential.
Paul Letlow of TigerBait.com reports on the commitment:
Offered by LSU assistant coach Frank Wilson on Saturday, the Class of 2014 standout committed to the Tigers a few hours later.
"Yesterday, me and my coach Nathaniel Jones went up there (to LSU)," said Alexander, who received the offer in person on campus from Wilson. "Me and my coach came back to New Orleans and we talked it over to my mom. I called Coach Wilson back and told him I was going to commit."
Alexander also expects to play outside linebacker for LSU, according to Letlow:
Alexander said he expects to continue as an outside linebacker for LSU.
"I'm a physical player and I have a lot of speed," Alexander said. "I'm able to run anybody down from sideline to sideline. I'm able to make big plays."
With the addition of Alexander, LSU's 2014 class now features five commitments.
What, exactly, does the linebacker recruit bring to the table for LSU? Here's my complete scouting report for Alexander:
- Name: Donnie Alexander
- Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
- School: Edna Karr High School
- Position: OLB
- Height: 6'1" (Rivals)
- Weight: 200 lbs (Rivals)
- 40 Time: 4.6 (Scout.com)
- Rankings: 3-star (247Sports), N/R (Rivals), N/R (Scout.com), N/R (ESPN Recruiting Nation)
LSU is getting a player who's very comfortable in open space. He has good size, but where he really sets himself apart is with his quickness and agility on the edges. Alexander will be a more-than-capable option to send on a blitz because of his size and aggressiveness, but he can also bump out into the slot and cover a No. 2 receiver.
Overall, he's the type of linebacker that will be able to make plays on the edge, and he can be a sideline-to-sideline defender for the Tigers.
He has the ability to scrape over and be productive in the run game. He can be an aggressive and physical linebacker, but he most likely projects to be a good option at the "Will" linebacker position. He also has the quickness and vision to scrape over and clean up on tackles.
In the pictures below, you can get a good look at Alexander's pursuit ability. The offense is running an option read to the right side, which means Alexander will be responsible for scraping over and filling the cutback lane.
The "Sam" linebacker blitzes and takes away the "give" read for the quarterback, which forces him to keep it and head up the middle while the defense flows outside. This makes Alexander an extremely vital player in this play.
The defensive tackle does a great job of getting off the block and getting back into the running lane, which makes Alexander a backside cut player. Notice how he comes to balance with a good, wide base and really cuts off that last running lane. He ends up getting in on the tackle, and the play goes for minimum yardage. Also, notice his low pad level on the tackle.
The only thing that I'd change here would be for him to have his head up, seeing what he's hitting for safety's sake. But one can't fully decipher if that's the case or not on this film. Either way, it's a great point to emphasize as a coach looking at film.
This may not be a huge highlight-reel play by Alexander, but it shows you that he can be a smart linebacker and he'll be more than just a coverage or blitzing option.
I'd like to see Alexander develop a better read step. But that's something that will come with more experience, coaching and film study, so it's a pretty minor detail.
He doesn't have bad footwork in any way, but I would label it as inconsistent footwork. He needs a stronger first step to the line of scrimmage as a run defender, and he needs to work on getting rid of a slight false step or two. That comes from hesitation, which, at it's core, will come down to being able to quickly diagnose plays.
He should be able to clear that up during his senior season.
At this point, Alexander looks like he can be a specialist at outside linebacker. He'll be a great option to have in blitz packages and especially on long third downs, when LSU will need someone who is good in space and will be comfortable dropping back into coverages.
If he gets a little bit bigger and becomes more of a force linebacker during his senior season, the Tigers will be getting a very talented and underrated outside linebacker recruit.