Star in the Making?

CLEMSON – The only thing Kevin Alexander has ever been known for by Clemson fans is that he went to high school with C.J. Spiller and that his commitment to the Tigers helped convince the star running back to leave Florida and head to the upstate, too.

That is all about to change.

In fact, it shouldn't be too long before Alexander is leaving an impression on the football field by making plays at his new position of bandit.

Just prior to fall camp, the sophomore was moved from middle linebacker to bandit. The move was made because the Tigers were thin at that position entering camp, but also to maybe enable Alexander to get on the field for more plays.

But what also occurred at the same time was the discovery that he could be a star at his new position.

Alexander, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 250 pounds, is exceptionally strong. He bench presses 440 pounds and cleans 360 pounds. That's far and away much strong than Gaines Adams ever was.

But what is more is Alexander's speed. The coaches say he has great quickness off the ball and that he can either bull rush by running through a lineman or speed rush by going around him.

"Kevin has got great strength in his hips and upper body, but he's also got great speed," said his position coach Ron West. "We projected him to be another Anthony Waters at middle linebacker. I saw him on tape, also, and I wanted him as a bandit. So we had two position coaches fighting for him and wanting to take him."

Alexander is still getting used to the new techniques required at that position. It's a learning process and he is making some mistakes. But West said very rarely does he make the same mistake twice.

"He was hungry since the day we moved him there," West said. "When he makes a mistake, it really bothers him. What more could you ask from a young man."

Another attribute coaches love about Alexander is his work ethic. Nobody on the team works harder at their craft than he does.

"I'm not saying he's been perfect, but Kevin is very explosive and strong," defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said. "He's got all kinds of want-to. He's a load, now. You're never going to have to worry if he's going to play hard or practice hard or show up or be on time."

And as each practice and week passes, Alexander is getting better and better. And while fans will always remember Alexander for his relationship with Spiller, his play will be mentioned in the same sentence.

"I think he has got tremendous instincts for playing down," West said. "I think he'll get better because he's a smart kid. He'll help our football team. We're a better football team today because of that move."

QUICK HITS: The injury-riddled Tigers got six players back on the practice field Monday in Dorell Scott (sprained ankle), Ricky Sapp (sprained ankle), Jamie Cumbie (shoulder), Antwon Murchison (concussion), Josh Miller (oral surgery) and Landon Walker (knee). …

Wide receiver Rendrick Taylor lined up some at fullback in practice Tuesday, but Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said it's more as a blocker and slipping him out into the flat on a play-action-pass than for him carrying the ball. … Bowden said that freshman tight end/fullback Chad Diehl is one of the best blocking tight ends and that he's going to steal playing time from some of the upperclassmen. …

Clemson will undergo a full scrimmage Tuesday morning. … Bowden said that freshman offensive lineman David Smith could be the fifth tackle instead of Walker. … Bowden said once Clay drops a few more pounds over the next two weeks that he believes the middle linebacker will be in prime condition mentally and physically. Top Stories