Rivals.com ranks him as a 5-star recruit and the nation’s No. 10 overall prospect. Alexander’s status on the 247Sports Composite scale has dipped since he didn’t get to play over the first six weeks of the season. He’s merely the nation’s No. 6 DL and the No. 39 overall recruit at this time.
The cause for that was Alexander wasn’t eligible to play in Texas this fall due to a move to a new school and team.
The governing body of Texas high school sports did not grant him eligibility after that transfer. He transferred to Florida to play for the defending mythical high school national champions to have a senior season.
He’s only been at IMG Academy for a few weeks but has turned every head. DawgNation went to see Alexander play last Friday in Mississippi. It offered the chance to gather a bunch of fresh opinions about what Alexander is now and what he will be in Athens.
Imposing offensive line prospect Aliou Bah, a recent UGA commit himself, called him “Jordan Davis 2.0″ in his assessment of what Alexander can be between the hedges.
“Jordan Davis 2.0,” Bah said. “Even better.”
Yet this is a different version. Alexander’s forte is a quick initial first few steps of quickness where he shoots into the gap and disrupts the play.
He lives in the backfield. That’s a big difference from the massive sponge value that Davis provides for the Georgia defense.
His actual name is Keithian Alexander. But it will be like calling a soda anything but a “Coke” down South.
What does the scouting intel read like now for Alexander?
It is good. Really good.
“It is like blocking a literal bear,” Alabama offensive line commit Tyler Booker said. “He’s so explosive and strong you really have to have great technique when you go against him. He’s very intelligent with a very high football IQ.”
Bah goes against Alexander every day in practice. He committed to UGA last Monday. When he lined up against Alexander the next day, he was telling him to “slide on home” to play with him in Athens.
How does one block a bear? Bah said Alexander is the type of player one must be physical with. Yet that means stepping into the cage with him.
The best bet might be to get your hands on him very quickly.
“If it is not a bear then it is really like a bull coming to you,” Bah said. “Especially when he lines about a yard off the ball and gets that steam of his coming at you. I will usually jump-set him. You would probably have to take a short set and get your hands on him quickly. You’ve got to punch him and then hang in there.”
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Big Bear Alexander (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Big Bear Alexander: What his IMG line coach Ernie Logan had to say
Former NFL vet Ernie Logan has been at IMG Academy for several seasons. He was there to see two seasons of former 5-star Nolan Smith attack for the Ascenders. He also coached up Georgia reserve DLs Warren Brinson and Marlin Dean, too.
Logan has a keen eye. He played for Bill Parcells in the NFL and was a “Parcells guy” in that league.
What has he seen out of Alexander so far?
“He has a quick first step,” Logan said. “He’s very stout in the middle coming off the ball. He changes the line of scrimmage, man. The kid is a load to handle.”
The IMG defensive line coach’s career was extended by bringing constant energy and effort. It was what caught the eyes of both Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells
So what he has to say about the little things in Alexander’s game means a lot.
“Big Bear” can do a lot of things across the front. It just requires the reader’s ability to understand the positions and gap slots a defensive lineman can line up in. Those are varied based on the player, his ability and the defensive line scheme for each play.
“He’s more of a power rusher,” Logan said. “It will depend on what kind of ‘3′ technique you are looking for. He’s not the athletic type, but he’s quick. He can push the pocket. He can do it at the ‘3′ tech, too. Especially on the high school level. We played him at a little ‘4i’ because we play a head-up nose and two ‘4is’ mostly. On third and long, we will get in a ‘2i’ and a ‘3′ technique but I move him around.”
“He’s capable of doing that for us.”
Logan believes Alexander can play the nose in college.
“It just depends on if they are playing a head-up nose in an odd front,” he said. “Are they shading the nose and playing a ‘3′ technique away from him? Those are the things to consider with Bear there.”
What were his first impressions of Alexander?
“Bear has been through a lot in Texas,” Logan said. “Where he is now is great for him because it is like a college atmosphere. That’s what he needs. He needed some structure because he didn’t have that when he was moving around in Texas. He’s got that here and he’s got a lot of great players around him here to push him and make him better.”
Despite the layover, he felt Alexander reported to IMG Academy in game shape.
“He was a little winded when he first got to us practicing in the heat of South Florida, but he’s fine now,” Logan said.
Alexander recorded at least four tackles against nationally-rated East St. Louis last weekend, including one sack.
Big Bear Alexander listens intently to IMG Academy defensive line coach Ernie Logan prior to the next defensive series against East St. Louis on October 22, 2021. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
It is hard to hunt with Big Bear Alexander on your defense
Alexander gets into the backfield fast.
“I think his game really is the versatility,” Bah said. “I mean you just look at him and you think he is all power moves. He has some finesse to him. He can get off you quick and shed the block quick. Not just power. I think that’s big for him that he can do all that and still add that anchor to our defense especially at the nose technique.”
He’s probably best at a “3″ technique in college. Alexander will probably admit that, too. He’s been plugged in as a nose at IMG in their even front.
“I’m just playing whatever they need me to play,” he said. “When I get to Georgia, I will play where ever they need me to. Just want to help out the team.”
Bah thinks Alexander can play every position across the defensive line. That’s where Alexander’s versatility comes in.
“That would be pretty scary having to deal with him as a ‘5′ technique with him getting all that ground to cover and getting his full steam ahead coming at you,” Bah said.
Malik Bryant, a 5-star junior OLB, loves to hunt on defense. He’s one of those players that is always going to be around the ball and making plays in a game. The 247SportsComposite lists him as the nation’s No. 2 EDGE and the No. 15 overall prospect for 2023.
Alexander has meant he has had to raise his level of play.
“That man is a monster,” Bryant said, “He’s very broad. He’s explosive. He gets into the backfield. I can basically say that ever since he arrived it has been a competition into the backfield. Like the race to the quarterback. I’m an outside rusher and now I have to beat out a defensive lineman.”
“That’s wild, man. But that’s Bear.”
Big Bear Alexander is very aptly named. He's been called "Jordan Davis 2.0" by one of his future Georgia teammates at IMG Academy. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
A few bottom lines to remember about Big Bear
“He lives up to that name Bear,” Bah said. “Let’s get that right.”
Alexander’s game is built on that size and ferocity but it ascends with constant effort.
“He’s definitely kept me on my toes the last week or two in practice,” Bah said. “I have to battle him every single play. The man has a motor and he goes hard every single play. I love that. I love the competitive edge he has. That is getting me better and the rest of our offensive line better.”
“I’m loving that he’s here with us.”
Bryant singled out one specific trait.
“It is his explosiveness,” he said. “Power. He’s very strong. Like I don’t want to put out any names but in practice, he just shows that. He just shows why he is like that top player in his class. He just shows it. Bear is very very explosive.”
“How he looks. His appearance. Everything about him just fits that name ‘Bear’ with it. The way how he plays all of it. It is a perfect fit.”
Bah will be an early guard fit in Athens. That means he will see Alexander lined up across from his face for the next four or five seasons.
“I love thinking about that,” Bah said. “Just thinking about how good we are going to be together. From seeing him every day.”
Jordan Davis 2.0? Maybe.
Yet the word here is that the one-and-only Big Bear Alexander 1.0 will show more than enough in Athens to inspire its share of hashtags and lore on its own.
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Big Bear Alexander (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
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