Junior to watch: OL Alex Fletcher

One player who is at the top of the Trojan coaching staff's wish list is St. Anthony's (NY) Alex Fletcher. Having given a verbal commitment to Stanford back in February, the elite offensive lineman has gone largely unmentioned by many recruiting experts due to the fact that his recruitment appeared to be over. However, Fletcher is still receiving attention from top colleges from all over, including USC. As we found out, this one isn't 100% over just yet. Do the Trojans still have a shot?

Considered by many to be the top center prospect in the nation, Fletcher is a human wrecking ball on the field. At 6'4 and 280 pounds, and with a 400 pound max on the bench press, he dominates the line of scrimmage with a combination of athleticism and brute strength. As a junior, he had over 55 pancake blocks and over 40 de-cleaters in helping lead his St. Anthony's squad to an 11-0 championship season. "I have the mentality that I just can't be beat by anybody," he said. "I mean, obviously I'm going to meet my match but I feel like I can block anybody. I can knock anybody eight yards off the ball, I can get any linebacker. I just have the mentality that no one else is better than me. That's just the way I am. Granted, you're going to lose sometimes, but never fear anyone."

In a day and age when most recruits look forward to the recruiting process and the trips that come with it, Fletcher surprised everyone when he gave a verbal commitment to Stanford way back in February, "I took an unofficial visit last year to Stanford and I fell in love with it," he explained. "It's a good academic school. It's probably the best scholar-athlete school that you can find around." Stanford was one of twenty six offers Fletcher had a full year before signing day.

So why should Trojan fans have any interest in Fletcher's story if he's already committed to the Cardinal? Well, as the highly touted offensive lineman explained, this one isn't quite over yet and the Trojans aren't out of it, "It's like 90%," he said. "I haven't been officially accepted yet so I can't burn any bridges. I still have a number of schools that I'm still interested in. I like USC, Michigan, Notre Dame, Miami, Boston College, and Virginia. I have offers from all of those schools. If anything happens with admissions, probably I'd definitely have to say that USC, Virginia, and BC would probably be ahead of anybody else in that group."

In discussing the Trojans, it's apparent that Fletcher has genuine interest and the feeling is mutual on Coach Pete Carroll's part, "USC, their football program is on the rise, I can definitely tell you that," he said. "They've had great recruiting classes and the academics are starting to get really good. Coach Carroll came to visit my school in person, back in the May evaluation period, and I thought that was unbelievable, because he used to coach the Jets and I'm a big Jets fan. That was just great. Coach Kiffin came down one time. He actually went to my school. He went to St. Anthony's. He was awesome, I loved him. USC, they only recruit the best. It's definitely an honor." Among the topics that the Trojan coaching staff discussed with Fletcher in May was the possibility of early playing time, "They talked about playing real early. That was big. Their center and left guard are seniors. Playing early would be big for me. I want to play four years so that's real big for me."

Fletcher also discussed his interest in Virginia and Boston College briefly, "Virginia is another school on the rise. And BC, I like Coach McGovern. One downfall I don't like is the weather, but I definitely think that I like the coaches a lot. I thought that going to the ACC would be a big deal, but today I've heard that only Miami is going to ACC. That's something negative about that school, but I like the coaches there. I find out in the next two weeks what my future is at Stanford. If anything happened, all of those schools would be right up there."

Obviously, a lot hinges on the next two weeks and what the word is from Stanford, and if Palo Alto doesn't end up being his ultimate destination, he'd still like to have the decision made sooner than later, "It's like 50-50, and if things start to change, I'm going to open it up and take my visits and that kind of stuff," he said. "But I definitely want to get my decision down before the end of summer, so if I'm going to have to travel, I'm going to have to travel. That's the main thing and then I'll plan everything from there, but I have a good SAT, so I should be in good standing with that. But in terms of that, I won't decide until I consult with Coach Kirwan and some other guys that are close to me."

The "Coach Kirwan" Fletcher refers to is former Carroll assistant Pat Kirwan, "I'm really close with Pat Kirwan," he explained. "He used to coach at my school. He's great. He's actually helping me out with the recruiting process."

Of immediate interest to Fletcher is a camp that he's set to attend this weekend, "I'm leaving tomorrow for California to the Stanford camp. I'll get a chance to work with the coaches. It's going to be a good time."

We'll keep you updated.

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