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Shaun Alexander - Part 1

"What we had was a gangly 14-year old kid who wore glasses," Thompson said, who was an assistant coach for Boone County when Alexander entered school in 1990. "He had some talent but he wasn't very strong and he was still young when we got him." <br><br> <i>This story is exclusively for Premium Ticket members. To find out how to gain access for just a few bucks while donating to some great charities, <a href="https://secure.theinsiders.com/a.z?s=114&p=6&c=1"> click here.</a>

Shaun Alexander fielded questions from his audience. But unlike many of the crowds eager to talk football with the former Alabama and Boone County star, his audience was a bit younger, and maybe smarter; honor-student teenagers to be exact

It was early fall and Alexander was at R.A. Jones Middle School for his annual visit. His senior year was about to start and he was a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, given to the most valuable player in college football each season.

You couldn't help but notice the gleam in the eyes of both the kids and Alexander as the group chatted back and forth as if they were sitting around a campfire sharing insights on football and, more importantly, life.

And that truly was what Alexander was doing. He stressed the importance of academics, being true to yourself and making good decisions. All in a way that made him seem more like a friendly brother than one of the best college football players in the nation.

"Your education is the most important thing," Alexander says. And he speaks from experience. The former four-time class president at Boone Country High School earned his degree in four years from Alabama. But competition and winning is important too. That is why Alexander says he came back to Alabama for his fifth and final year of eligiblity.

"Our goal was a National Championship," he adds. "Anything else, like the Heisman is nice for me and my linemen, but it is about winning."

The interaction with the kids featured a rendition of the "Presidential Boogie," a song Alexander sang as an R.A. Jones student to learn the presidents of the United States. It is typical of Alexander, who goes to great lengths to give back to his community and kids in general.

"The one consistent thing about Shaun is he is the same now as he always was." Boone County head coach Rick Thompson said. "He has good strong values and that is reflected in his whole family."

An ankle injury that forced him to miss parts or all of three games derailed Alexander's Heisman bid. ...


Stay tuned for Part 2 and thanks for being a subscriber to SI, where we donate 25 percent of site revenue to several charities, one of which is the Shaun Alexander Family Foundation.
This article is reprinted with permission from the Florence Recorder

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