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5-star junior LB Jeremiah Alexander has UGA in his top six. Do they have a chance to make his top 1?

Jeremiah Alexander: Why the talented 5-star junior LB has UGA in his final 6

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry details the final six released on New Year’s Day by 5-star junior LB Jeremiah Alexander of Thompson High in Alabama. 

Jeremiah Alexander had Georgia listed among his final three schools in December of 2019. He wound up choosing Alabama last March but felt a real need to de-commit during the 2020 season.

The 5-star junior DE/OLB prospect rates as the nation’s No. 1 weak-side DE and No. 12 overall prospect (247Sports Composite) for the 2022 cycle.

Alexander released an updated final six on New Year’s Day. The Bulldogs also made the cut there, too. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound junior says he now plans to take his time before making his final decision in December of 2021.

It is about this time where the seasoned reader might go here: 5-star + Lives in Alabama = Lowered expectations.

There’s a better chance of seeing Day and Saban do The Griddy together later this month after their pressers.

But this 5-star has already seen a 5-star family member leave The Yellowhammer State. That hyper-athletic family member also left his home state to play for Georgia.

That thickens this plot more than a wee smidge here, right?

The future early enrollee broke down why the Bulldogs made the cut again in detail, but it seems best to quickly hit the high points of his story.

  • He is very strong. Alexander told DawgNation he has a power clean of 395 pounds even though his team hasn’t done any max lifts in quite awhile. 
  • Look for him to wait until after his senior season in 2021 to make his final decision. That will likely mean he signs during the early period and announces at the Under Armour All-American Game in early 2022. The most likely timetable at this time would be in January of 2021. 
  • Alexander said that his cousin George Pickens is able to give him a good read on all things UGA, but hasn’t really spoken at length to him about the benefits of being a Bulldog. Not just yet. 
  • He’s hearing from UGA just about daily and that includes communication from OLBs coach and defensive coordinator Dan Lanning and also co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann.
  • That seems Smart. Not just a key page from the book of Kirby Smart. Alexander will likely be an ILB or an OLB in the SEC. 
  • He is talking to some Bulldogs, too. Georgia 2022 commit Marquis Groves-Killebrew AND freshman Kelee Ringo both show up as strong sources of information about all things UGA, too. 

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. 

Jeremiah Alexander-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
Jeremiah Alexander had 30 tackles for losses and nine sacks as a junior for Class 7A state champion Thompson High in 2020. (Jeremiah Alexander/Instagram)

Getting to know 5-star LB Jeremiah Alexander

Alexander has a funny story about what drew him to football.

“My first year I just saw it on TV,” he said. “I saw how big the guys were and initially I didn’t know you had to put in all the work to get like that. I thought you just came out that big. But like after the years went by I just fell in love with the game. I saw the opportunity that I could go to college for free and my parents wouldn’t have to pay for it. And so I just fell in love with the game.”

Those that will track his story should commit this video to memory. That was when he was a rising ninth-grader who first caught the eye of the Thompson staff.

They took a look at his frame then and told him he needed to start coming to the varsity’s 6 a.m. workouts. They knew he could help the team as a freshman.

Alexander had a significant leg injury at the time. His ankle was in a boot. It was a wrestling injury. But it didn’t matter.

“The dude was already freaking jacked up,” Thompson High defensive coordinator Shawn DeFoor said. “I was like ‘this is the little eighth-grade linebacker’ and was like dude you have a chance to play for us. You need to come on up with us at the varsity workouts.”

They figured out the boot. Within the first week, he was doing everything the veteran varsity players were doing. With one leg.

“Just pure tenacity,” DeFoor said. “Just pure get after it.”

There’s a novel part to his story that stands out here. Can’t say we’ve really heard it stated quite his way before. Take a look at his de-commitment tweet.

As it turns out, it was another team that forced his hand on that de-commitment. But it wasn’t the LSU Tigers. Or the Georgia Bulldogs. Or the Florida Gators.

It was the Thompson Warriors.

“What matters to me is my family,” Alexander said. “I’m a big family guy. That’s a lot of the reason why I de-committed from the University of Alabama. Because at the time, I was trying to focus on the team and just be a team player. But like every label out there on me was like Alabama commitment Jeremiah Alexander. 5-star. Blah blah blah.”

He didn’t like that. At least not yet. Not as a high school junior trying to repeat as a state champion in the largest classification in Alabama.

“I felt like I was being selfish because at the same time it felt like I was already playing for the University of Alabama at the same time as Thompson,” he said. “I just wanted to focus all my attention on Thompson.”

Alexander now feels that March 2020 commitment came way too early.

Jeremiah Alexander-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
Look for Jeremiah Alexander to make his college commitment known at the Under Armour All-American Game next January. (Jeremiah Alexander/Twitter)

“Looking back when I first committed I was like ‘Alright this is where I want to be’ because this is the team my family grew up watching and the home atmosphere at Alabama is amazing,” Alexander said. “Looking back at it I did it a little bit too early. That’s another reason why I de-committed at the time.”

It wasn’t any specific college recruiting pitch there. It is also interesting that he visited all of those schools in his top six prior to the pandemic.

He feels like those relationships are already vested and that’s why his final decision will come from one of those six SEC programs.

“The schools in my top six that aren’t Alabama are in there because they stayed down with me and kept recruiting me and talking to me while I was committed,” Alexander said. “They recruited me as if I wasn’t committed and the atmosphere at all those schools as well as a big factor.”

“Then with the whole COVID deal, I don’t know if the dead period is going to open up again. Or when it will. All the schools that are on the list I’ve been there before. I don’t want to commit to a school that I haven’t visited before and make a blind decision.”

He has a good estimate of a future timetable. Alexander is thinking about that, but he’s intelligent enough to know that COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic can pancake his best-laid plans.

“It will probably be after my senior year because of the stress that I went through last year being committed to Alabama while playing my junior season,” he said. “It felt like I was already playing for two teams. It will probably be after my senior season.”

Alabama’s staff gave him that “home” feeling to earn that first commitment.

“It was close to home and my parents like Alabama,” he said. “It was just a good decision I thought at the time.”

Jeremiah Alexander: The film + where he plays on Saturdays

There are two quick scouting terms that pop up on Alexander here: Block. Destruction.

Thompson has designed its defense around Alexander at the “Buck” end position. He’s one of those new school players that can play all over a scheme.

“He plays ‘Buck’ for us and that can be on the line,’ Thompson defensive coordinator Shawn DeFoor said. “He could be an inside linebacker. He could be an outside backer. We even have a way to put him inside on the line.”

DeFoor told DawgNation that Alexander will play up to five different positions in their front.

“Literally he plays four or five different positions for us every Friday night,” DeFoor said. “He rarely has a bad fit or a screw-up in technique. He’s super smart.”

That’s a “4” and a “4i” technique and a “5” tech a little farther from the interior of the front. Then both linebacker spots.

Alexander is chewing up and spitting out a lot of 7A guards on his junior film. He could really be a great middle linebacker in the SEC.

“There’s a play two years ago in the first round of the playoffs where he’s got two dudes hanging off him and he smokes the quarterback,” DeFoor said. “He caused a fumble and scoops it up and recovers it all on one play. Still with those two dudes trying to block him hanging on him.”

He’s also being recruited by Dan Lanning for stuff like that. Maybe he could be in that OLBs room at UGA, too. Yet there’s a concern there when it comes to his length.

“Like I don’t know if I’m done growing or not,” Alexander told DawgNation. “So if I stopped growing, I’ll probably play inside. But I will still rush the passer. But if I get tall – my Dad is like 6-foot-4 – like 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-3, then I’ll probably be a defensive end. It just depends on how tall I turn out to be.”

He was a walk-up defensive end or outside backer this fall. But he could also play inside. His best trait right now is probably his pass rush.

“My go-to move right now is probably my bull rush like nine times out of 10,” Alexander said. “I feel like I’m stronger than the other guys I line up against like nine times out of 10.”

Maybe more like 95 times out of 100. He did list a 395-pound power clean and a squat of almost 400 pounds. Alexander finished his junior year with 30 tackles for losses and nine sacks. He had 12 other quarterback pressures with three fumbles forced and three fumble recoveries.

That film shows off a very explosive athlete who is just understanding his body. Even though he is putting a lot of blockers flat on their backs.

“He’s such a smart football player,” DeFoor said. “He understands the scheme and the schematics of our defenses. He understands what is happening out there and what the offensive side of the football is trying to do, too. That is important for a defensive player to understand that, too.”

But he’s got a pretty good head on his shoulders for a high school junior.  That de-commitment step shows that, but it is not an anomaly.

“That’s him,” DeFoor said. “He’s serious when he needs to be, but he’s not that way all the time. He’s a good kid. Let me just say that. He’s a good kid deep down. That’s the difference. You see a lot of these guys in other situations and they are just really not good people. They can grow and manage to be good people but if they are not careful they can go another way from that also. Deep down Jeremiah is a good kid. He comes from a good family. His Mom and Dad are salt-of-the-earth great people.”

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 and Brock Vandagriff coming up over the next month. You will only be able to find it on the DawgNation YouTube channel. 

Jeremiah Alexander: How he feels about UGA

Georgia star receiver George Pickens is his second cousin. Is that a factor in his Georgia interest here?

“I wouldn’t say it is a factor,” Alexander said. “Because George is probably very likely to go three-and-out. Georgia has nothing to do with George. I mean I will always like Georgia. Especially from when I got into the recruiting process. I wouldn’t say George would be a reason why or why not I would commit to Georgia.”

Those two don’t really talk about a potential fit there for him at UGA.

“He says he likes it a lot but I don’t really get into other people’s opinions about schools,” Alexander said. “At the end of the day, it is my decision. So I don’t really like to ask people about how their experiences are at a place. I will ask them if they like it or do they regret their decisions. But I’m pretty sure George doesn’t regret going to Georgia.”

He did visit UGA right before the pandemic. It was right before he made that commitment to Alabama.

He said the biggest reason Georgia made his final six was the gameday atmosphere. He called it “different.”

“With Georgia, they were like always on me,” he said. “Even when I was committed to ‘Bama. The atmosphere at Georgia is amazing. Even when I came to a couple of gamedays. I went to the Notre Dame game [in 2019] and the game-day atmosphere there goes crazy. The coaches are great. I talk to Kirby [Smart] a lot. Coach [Glenn] Schumann. I talk to him daily. Just the relationships at Georgia that have got my attention.”

He said Schumann asked him recently where he wanted to play.

“I was like I couldn’t give him like a legit answer,” Alexander said. “I play a lot of places at Thompson so I couldn’t give him an answer there for real.”

Pickens might not be an influencer. But others are. Namely 2022 cornerback commitment Marquis Groves-Killebrew of Brookwood High in Metro Atlanta.

“Marquis and I talk a lot daily,” he said. “I talk to Kelee Ringo some and then George Pickens.”

Groves-Killebrew is grinding here.

“He’s always following up on my stories,” Alexander said. “When I post about football, he’s like ‘Go Dawgs’ with all of that. When I said something about my top six he said it was going to be Georgia, Georgia, Georgia, Georgia, Georgia and Georgia with that.”

What is he looking for in a decision?

“The home atmosphere is important to me especially,” Alexander said. “Whether I go to ‘Bama or I go to Georgia or anywhere else, it is going to be away from home. It is not going to be normal. So just the home atmosphere for real.”

How does he compare the experiences of being recruited by Alabama and Georgia? Is the opportunity is Tuscaloosa just a path to join a legit college dynasty? Is it the NFL pipeline? Or is it just the trophy room success at Alabama?

“I really don’t look at it as the hype at Alabama or anything,” he said. “My decision is going to be based on the home atmosphere and the coaches and my feelings about the relationships with the coaches and staff. I don’t care about the hype or traditions or past success. Like I don’t care. Alabama is a good team. So is Georgia. I don’t base it off anything like that. Or look at any of that. They are both good teams.”

He said that all of the schools “are the same” right now in his mind.

“They are all the same,” he said. “Give them all the same. There is nobody leading right now.”

Jeremiah Alexander-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
This is a pretty classic picture of Jeremiah Alexander from the battle against perennial Southeastern juggernaut Hoover High this season. He made the sack and came away with the quarterback of the opposing QB after it rolled his way on the ground. (Jeremiah Alexander/Instagram)

SENTELL’S INTEL

(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)

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