Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry recaps a memorable DawgNation conversation with All-American DT commitment Big Bear Alexander from his live 1-on-1 interview on DawgNation’s “Before the Hedges” weekly recruiting program.
DawgNation had a feeling the 1-on-1 interview with Keithian “The Big Bear” Alexander was going to provide some quality content this week.
It went beyond that. There was a time when everyone in the live chat filled the comments with bear emojiis to thank for him taking the time for the interview. The visit also included his pledge to wear No. 99 at Georgia and honor that number and everything in between.
“The Big Bear” ranks as the nation’s No. 4 overall prospect for 2022 on Rivals.com. He rates as the No. 8 DT and the No. 86 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite. He committed to Georgia on the National Signing Day for the 2021 class this month.
While DawgNation was able to share his wide-ranging story of overcoming the obstacles in his life, it was the free-flowing conversation with Alexander that made for such a memorable program.
Alexander had a forest of interesting comments during his 37-minute segment, but DawgNation keyed in on five very intriguing moments that stood out in one of the best “DawgNation Conversations” we’ve done so far.
You should make the time for those 37 minutes. Trust us on this. Here’s the conversation below.
Those trials included seeing a cousin lost to violence. Another immediate family member was affected by a drug addiction which required constant supervision. He said he was able to right himself thanks to reconnecting to his Christian faith and the mentorship and influence of a man he now calls his Dad.
That’s Tony Jones. He’s a coach and a high school math teacher out in Texas.
“I can’t describe it,” Alexander said when asked to describe how Jones has changed his life. “He’s changed it a lot. When he first came around, he saw that I was doing a lot of fast living. I grew up a little bit before my time.”
“He saw that. He recognized that. He was able to pull me in.”
Alexander wants to be a teacher when his football days are over. It doesn’t matter how long that career goes. He will finish up his degree at UGA.
“I anticipate being a teacher,” Alexander said. “If football doesn’t work out, I will be at someone’s high school pouring into kids like I was poured into.”
DawgNation will detail the Alexander-Jones relationship in a forthcoming story. It will be the next piece we publish about the young man who endeared himself to many of the Georgia faithful on this week’s broadcast.
Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com “Before the Hedges” program is available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it.
Big Bear Alexander: The best play he’s made so far
This one reflects the full worth of the young man that Georgia has accepted a verbal scholarship commitment from out of the state of Texas.
The question was: What’s the best play you’ve made?
“I took my man and I pushed him at least four to five yards back,” he said at the 23:05 time stamp of the interview. “My defensive end, Michael Gee, is a kid with no offers. A kid that just loves to be around the program and hunt. He made the sack. That was the Longview game. I think he had three or four sacks. They named me the ‘MVP’ and that was the biggest game of my breakout year but I’d say that was my favorite play.”
“It was the play that I didn’t make, but a play that I assisted in.”
He thanked the fans for watching along with his interview at the 35:19 mark. He was grateful for the chance to connect with DawgNation.
“I feel like these people don’t know me at all and I’ve got an opportunity to present myself,” he said. “This is the true authentic me. Like I anticipate on coming to Georgia and being a stand-up guy from Day 1.”
Check out his recent Instagram post from Alexander. It’s the latest edit he’s gotten from the Bulldogs. (Big Bear Alexander/Instagram)
Big Bear Alexander on what number he will wear at UGA
That visual just above this section is an Instagram pos. Alexander shared a recent UGA edit that depicts he will inherit the No. 99 jersey made special at UGA by Jordan Davis over the last few years.
He feels it will be an honor to wear that number. Alexander stated his intentions on rocking that No. 99 at 31:58 into the program.
“I will be fulfilling his shoes,” Alexander said while bringing up Davis. “So I will be wearing No. 99.”
Alexander already knows his UGA schedule. He wished he could play in the 2021 season opener against Clemson. He hopes to face the Tigers during his time in Athens.
“If they are still scheduled when I get there, man that is going to be a good one,” he said.
There was a viewer on the feed who mentioned a classic Jay-Z song. That play on words about having 99 problems that can all be solved by Big Bear Alexander.
When he heard that, Alexnder’s thought train drifted back to Davis and the chain he wears around his neck as he takes the field. It was the same chain that John Atkins first took the field with as the “Alpha” defensive lineman on the special 2017 team.
Alexander is already aware of that tradition, too.
“That chain that you guys mentioned earlier,” Alexander said at the 34-minute mark. “It is a lot of meaning behind it. I think that [UGA] presented it as something like you are carrying a burden.”
Big Bear Alexander on UGA worrying about his commitment
The discussion went in a couple of different places. The first aspect came when Alexander brought up how Georgia is continuously recruiting him.
“To this day, they still don’t believe that they have a shot,” Alexander said at the 25:07 mark.
What he said might even alarm the Georgia fan base. Alexander is a top national recruit way out in Texas. Schools like Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M know how to recruit, too.
Alexander then quickly put out the forest fire with all of that.
“But they know the love is real,” he said. “If they are tuning in right now, they know that I am 100 percent committed to the University of Georgia. I don’t feel like that is changing no time soon.”
There’s a real-life factoid that provides evidence of that. Alexander has changed his number so the dozens of schools that had been actively recruiting him over the last year can no longer do so.
Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 interviews with Jake Fromm, Gunner Stockton and Brock Vandagriff. You will only be able to find it on the DawgNation YouTube channel.
Big Bear Alexander on the happiest day of his life
Alexander has had some low moments in his life, but he’s also had some arcs, too. It has provided him a great deal of perspective in his life up to this point.
This Disney trip with his new family was so meaningful to Bear Alexander. (Special to DawgNation)
What was his happiest day? He said it was the day that Jones took him to Walt Disney World in Florida. He was after all now a part of that family.
That trip was able to restore his lost childhood.
That comes up at 17:01 of this week’s program.
Alexander even got to ride in the teacups.
“It was something that I will never forget,” Alexander said. “I think that is every kid’s goal. I grew up watching The Disney Channel so just being around that type of atmosphere and being in Florida itself is something I will never forget.”
“Being in a teacup. Being around family, man. That’s important. Those are times that you don’t forget.”
He’s committed to a school in UGA that he said clearly checked all of the boxes he was looking to fill.
He’s a key member of a 2020 state champion Texas 5A football team.
But that trip ranks the highest as far as the best days of his life up to this point.
“We talked about Disney,” he said. “It would have to be Disney [but then] committing to the University of Georgia. I think those two are the biggest. The biggest accomplishments.”
A Big Bear in the teacups at Disney. Alexander felt it was one of the happiest moments of his life. (Special to DawgNation)
DawgNation will also learn quite a bit more about Alexander from that chat, including . …
- The reasons behind Alexander moving up his commitment decision some 11 months (6:57)
- The integral 2019 summer workout at UGA that shaped his love for the school (7:18 and 10:05)
- Why his mother’s family in Georgia and a middle school trip helped shape this choice (11:40)
- What is the genesis of his “The Big Bear” nickname? (13:05)
- What are his goals at UGA? (15:45)
- Why he wants to arrive at 305 pounds when he enrolls early at UGA (19:45)
- What is his mindset when he lines up on the field (22:39)
- The workout after a loooong car ride that started off his strong relationship with Tray Scott (24:36)
- Which current players does he model his game after? (26:60)
- What is his message to current UGA recruiting targets (27:38)
- What is his relationship like with current Georgia DT commit Tyre West (30:06)
- What it felt like when he committed to Georgia (36:16)
- What did he think about the name, image and likeness that UGA created for him in an edit? (38:00)
(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)