FNL Checks Out Oxford's Alexander

CLAY -- In a battle of two top ten 6A teams, No. 5 Clay-Chalkville took on eighth-ranked Oxford in a game that was a college recruiter's delight. Each side sported multiple players with the skills to play at the next level, but someone had to lose this battle of early-season unbeatens. That somebody?

Oxford, which led 21-14 at half but the Cougars came back to post a 30-21 win.

To the categories:

TOP PROSPECT: Oxford linebacker Kwon Alexander is a 6-3, 215-pound sideline-to-sideline terror. Yes, that guy wearing No. 17 is hard to miss, and if you do, he'll find you.

"He's got great speed, and he's just a very good linebacker," said Clay-Chalkville Coach Jerry Hood, who faced Alexander for the third time. "Obviously, he brings a lot to the table, with his height and his length. He just goes after the football."

Said Oxford Coach John Grass on his star, "He's the player he's always been. He makes plays all over the field. (Alexander) works hard every off-season to get stronger and faster, to make himself a better football player. He‘s a stalemate for us on defense, and he‘s been good since he was a sophomore."

Alexander had a ton of tackles, and a very impressive PBU where he leaped and batted a pass down.

SENIORS WHO SHINED: Oxford has another prospect with increasing Bama interest, receiver/defensive back Trae Elston, a speedster at 6-0, 180. Elston upped his Tide interest when he was told he'd get a shot at receiver, where Friday he caught five balls for 59 yards and a score, that came on a deflected nine-yard catch/run. He made an acrobatic 24-grab to set up another score. Elston is a good defensive back, too. He had a PBU and a handful of stops.

Oxford's 6-4, 280-pound tackle Michael Flint is a former Auburn pledge now open to other offers. Cougars d-lineman Cortez Deshazo (6-2, 255) heats up opposing passers, and 6-1, 180-pound defensive back Jalen Reedus has a nose for the ball.

Meanwhile, Clay-Chalkville's tall receiving corps features 6-3 Justin Burdette.

JUNIORS TO WATCH: His stats aren't yet what they were a year ago, but Cougars wide receiver DeAndre Woods (6-4, 201) already has an Auburn offer. Despite battling constant double-teams, Woods has improved his overall game.

"He's a better blocker now," said Hood, "and he's not 15 anymore. He's a lot tougher. That goes with the age. People tend to double-cover him, but once they figure out we've got some other good receivers, I think you'll see (Woods') statistically go up."

Grass agreed. "You have to double (Woods) some," he said. "He's tall, like their whole receiving corps."

Woods pulled in four balls for 58 yards, and may have been robbed by a missed call on a 35-yarder. It appeared he caught the ball while on his back, but it was ruled incomplete. Woods is not yet getting the ink that Pinson Valley junior Ernest Robinson is, but that could change in time. He has an SEC body now.

Woods has a teammate in his class who bears watching. That would be running back Kenterrius Gray (5-10, 220).

Oxford's Ulric Jones is a 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive lineman that forces the opposition to account for him. His No. 44 makes him seem like "LaMichael Fanning Lite."

SUPER SOPHS: Clay-Chalkville features a good hands guy in 6-2, 175-pound wide receiver Brian Clark, who will soon open more things up for Woods. His 13-yard sliding touchdown grab was nice.

For Oxford, speedy and gritty halfback Racean Thomas (5-11, 185) lived up to his name by racing 60 yards to pay dirt in the first quarter. He also plunged in from two yards out just before the half. He can fly, and he can break tackles. Watch him closely.

BONUS COVERAGE: Scout.com's Rachel Baribeau was also on hand, so look for video interviews from her on the combatants. I'm sure they, like myself, will be enamored by her lavender Nikes.

MARKETING 101: They sell sponsorships to everything at football games these days. I know this. But I have to say I'd never heard a PA guy say, "That's another CENTER POINT MASONIC LODGE FIRST DOWN!"

HOW BOUT THAT ‘QUE: One of several claims to fame the original location of Legends' Smokehouse has is that one of its former dish-washers is Alabama defensive lineman Quinton Dial. Dial has lost a lot of weight since he left this place, and no wonder. You just never get a bad meal there. Proprietor Randy Walls' late father, Clay Walls, was an Alabama quarterback during the Bart Starr days. On this night, I enjoyed a large BBQ pork sandwich, which was smoked just right and came with very tasty, not too spicy sauce. The fries and sweet tea are always good, and on this night, I indulged in a slice of home-made chocolate/pecan pie. Son! It was melt in your mouth good. Legends also has a second location in downtown Trussville. It's good, too.

NEXT UP: A rare off week, but looks like this will be the last off week for FNL until Thanksgiving weekend.

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