Versatility Defined

This Pennsylvania star defines the term "multi-purpose", and is racking up offers commensurate with his offensive abilities.

Many times, high school players are classified as "athletes" in recruiting circles because it's not certain where they will play in college. Sometimes that indicates a bit of a question about the individual, as college coaches may not be sure if he is skilled enough or has all the tools for a certain spot.

That's not the case, however, with A.J. Alexander. A rising senior from Altoona High School, he has the ability to play several different positions on the college level. His skills were quickly recognized by his high school coach, who puts the ball in his hands at quarterback, but also gets it to him in other ways as well.

"I'm not really a receiver," Alexander said as he tried to classify himself. "I'm more of an Antwan Randel-El type of guy. I can run it, and I can catch outs and short passes. I'm not the kind of guy who is going to run down the field and catch a lot of passes. I'm not a vertical guy. If I fit in at receiver somewhere, it's probably as a slot guy.

"I love it," Alexander said of being moved all over the field. "You are always matched up on somebody different. For some reason, I always seem to get covered by linebackers, so I watch them a lot on film. I get to see their style."

That versatility can sometimes work against a player being recruited, as college coaches can struggle to evaluate an "athlete" to figure out where he best fits on the field. With a few exceptions, high schoolers that don't have a defined position usually don't get numerous offers early. However, Alexander, again defying the norm, already has 19, with more expected.

"Nineteen offers – it was wild at first, but I am getting used to it and getting the hang of handling it," he said. "I really didn't expect it, and it was kind of crazy how it has happened."

Alexander's speed and elusiveness are what first draw scouts' eyes to the slashing prospect. He has the ability to make defenders miss and get back to full speed quickly, which is sometimes an overlooked quality in those that handle the ball.

West Virginia is firmly in the hunt for Alexander, who traveled to the WVU campus last year for the Maryland game. He enjoyed the atmosphere and game day activities, and is now setting up a visit to WVU in the next few weeks, along with his coach, in order to get a more in-depth look at the program. Although distance from home is not a major factor in his recruitment, he admits, "it would be nice," to play where his friends and family could watch him play.


Alexander, an all-conference and all-county first team selection as a junior, has definite designs on at least one aspect of his collegiate career.

"I do want to play offense. I like having my hands on the ball," he said.

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