“He’s really like that every day,” Thompson head coach Mark Freeman said. “We actually teach that here. We do that ‘grow your younger brothers up’ in practice around here.”
He’s always bouncing around. Springy even. There are a few moments where his teammates even get a little testy with him.
Part of that is due to the frustration that Alexander chews up blocks and spits them out like he’s trying to retire his parents from a life driving dump trucks and in daycare.
Truth be told, that’s probably exactly what he’s doing.
“My dream is to make my parents happy,” he said. “They are the ones that grew me up, turned me into a man and just seeing a smile on their face makes me happy. That’s my dream.”
He’s got a busy summer up ahead. Clemson gets the first visit on June 1. Georgia gets the next one on July 3. Those will be both unofficials.
When he looks back on it, it was still the right move.
“I think it has helped me a lot,” Alexander said. “A lot of people thought I was blowing smoke but I try to block out the media. But it was a team decision and my decision. I had to do what is best for me and my team.”
It worked. Thompson repeated as state champions in improbable fashion after a furious 11th-hour comeback. That was in Alabama’s largest classification in Class 7A.
He finished his junior year as a MaxPreps All-American after 116 tackles, 31 stops for losses and nine sacks in 14 games. Alexander is a very strong and explosive player. His power clean was already in the 395-pound range in January.
Thompson designs its defense around Alexander at the “Buck” end position. He’s one of the 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 last December. “He could be an inside linebacker. He could be an outside backer. We even have a way to put him inside on the line.”
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.
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Jeremiah Alexander had 116 tackles, 31 tackles for losses and nine sacks for a back-to-back state champion team in 2020. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Jeremiah Alexander: How he feels about UGA right now
There are some things to track in the Alexander backstory with UGA. He did visit UGA right before the pandemic hit. It was also right before he committed to Alabama in March of 2020.
He also has fond memories of visiting Athens for the Notre Dame game in 2019. He has used the phrases “crazy” and “amazing” to describe that game night at UGA.
George Pickens is also his second cousin, but he’s not been a chief influence on his process up to this point.
“I like Georgia a lot,” Alexander said. “Georgia, they were one of the schools that never really got off my back when I committed to Alabama. So I will always have love for Georgia.”
He has an official visit on his mind for the Bulldogs.
“I’m taking four official visits during the season,” he said. “It is going to be Florida, Clemson, ‘Bama and Georgia. Those are the four.”
Alexander is ready to be on a college campus for the first time since March of 2020. He’s been Zoomed and Wi-Fi recruited to exhaustion, but now sees the fun part up ahead.
“It is very exciting,” he said. “Like you said it can get annoying. But I’m still blessed. I’m definitely looking to getting on campus and talking in person.”
His size will ultimately determine where he plays in college. The 6-foot-2 rising senior is far too versatile a to just drop in as an inside linebacker. He could be a defensive end and a weapon collapsing the pocket flying in off the edge.
Where does he think he will play?
“I’ll say defensive end but just [because] I like to pass rush and stuff like that,” he said. “But I’ll say I am more athletic. I can play inside linebacker some, too. Just whatever the team needs. The best fit.”
Some schools see him at DE. Others say ILB. Georgia sees him initially as more of the latter.
“They say inside linebacker but then like third-down [and] rush the passer as well,” he said.
Scott Cochran and Dan Lanning are his primary UGA recruiters. He’s noticed the Bulldogs are doing quite well in the 2022 team recruiting rankings.
“They’ve done a lot of stuff,” Alexander said. “I like Georgia. Like I said. The class is the No. 1 class and I just need to get deeper into the process.”
Clemson was a late offer in February of this year. Dabo Swinney’s program thought he was going to stay home. But the Tigers really caught his eye during pandemic recruiting.
Which school’s recruitment did he find the most interesting during the dead period? That was Clemson.
“I’ve had so many tours,” Alexander said. “FaceTime team meetings with Clemson. I would say Clemson.”
He realizes why even the big programs might wince at the odds of a former 5-star ‘Bama commit leaving The Yellowhammer State. He’s got a tailor-made response for that.
“I am going to the best place for me and my family,” he said. “To put me in the league and the best place for me to work.”
Jeremiah Alexander's game can be broken down into three bullets: 1) Block destruction; 2) Explosiveness; 3) Relentlessness (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
One very good story about Jeremiah Alexander
Please allow us to cheat on that subhead. Just a little bit. There are going to be two good Alexander items in this section.
The first is why he wears his No. 7. He’s already got a good head on his shoulders about that. There is a very good old school and a new school reason for that.
Well, maybe an Old Testament reason.
“I wear number seven because the Bible says that’s the day that we should rest,” he said. “And also people started calling me ‘J7′ and in college, the name, image and likeness stuff is coming up. So like with ‘J7′ that’s what I plan on falling back on. Well, not falling back on but just as a part of my name, likeness and image.”
The other good story comes from former Georgia LB Jake Ganus. Ganus is now an assistant who oversees the linebackers on the Thompson team. He was the original graduate transfer for UGA back in 2015.
Ganus is a rising star in the Alabama high school coaching ranks. He’s smart, highly likable and bleeds for his players. When asked about Alexander, the stories start to roll.
Every coach worth their whistle (or even mousepad these days) will have a “teach” tape. That’s where they collect the best examples and nuances of the position they coach. They share that with their current and future players.
Ganus tries really hard to make sure that his “teach” tape could not also double for Alexander’s highlight reel. He might be losing that battle.
There’s a play that will be on there for the next 25-30 years he’s in coaching. It is a dissertation for what All-Americans should do in a big spot.
“So he’s at inside,” Ganus said. “He’s in a ‘30′ technique. The guard is coming up on high. He comes with a full-base strike and just absolutely flatbacks the guard. He buckles his knees back. He chases the ball down. Then a very very good slot and thick H-Back comes to crack on him.”
Ganus narrows his eyes at this point. They seem to zoom in. It is like he’s got this play on a permanent loop in his football brain.
“He absolutely puts him three yards in the air. He makes him fall on his butt and then goes and makes the tackle on the sideline. Running about thirty yards.”
When he graded Alexander on that play, he also had to flatback his own perceptions of a perfect play.
“I’m a big guy about 100 percent,” Ganus said. “There’s nothing greater than 100 percent. That’s it. You’re not 110 percent committed to nobody. 100 percent is the max. That was a 100 right there. It had to be.”
Thompson High finished with a ranking of No. 2 nationally on MaxPreps.com last fall. Alexander was a big reason why. That was quite a feat given the mythical national title went to boarding school power IMG Academy. That program selects its players.
Alexander grew up in Alabaster. When it comes to those “100″ plays with this 5-star, there are many.
“He’s got like uncanny and I guess the word for it is something you just can’t judge or measure when it comes to his explosion and his power,” Thompson head coach Mark Freeman said. “His explosion and power when he makes the first point of contact are just incredible.”
Thompson also has a 5-star DT in Peter Woods in the 2023 class. He’s a safe bet to wind up as one of the nation’s top three players when the cycle wraps. Woods is a bonafide candidate to be the No. 1 overall player in 2023.
He has some of that same dynamite in his first few moves.
“When Jeremiah really explodes on a kid and I mean a real good football player, he still pretty much dominates them,” Freeman said. “I’ve had college coaches call me about a play he made against an All-Region or All-Country or All-Area right tackle for a local team. He’s a really good player. I’m good friends with this kid’s Dad. Good friends with his brother. This is a big ol’ kid.”
“But when Jeremiah came off the edge, he knocked the kid two or three feet backward and on his rear end. I had a coach at three different SEC schools just call me and tell me about how impressive that really was.”
Alexander is such a fluid athlete. Freeman believes the young 5-star could be an H-Back in the NFL if that’s what he wanted to do.
5-star LB Jeremiah Alexander clearly stepped into a core leadership role for his back-to-back state championship team this spring. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Jeremiah Alexander and De’Nylon Morrissette: Tracing that connection
When Morrissette announced his commitment date earlier this year on Instagram, there was a quick reply under that post from Alexander.
It essentially said he was ready to follow him to whichever school he chose.
“That’s my boy,” Alexander said last week. “I talked to him before he committed and I was like ‘Where are we going bro?’ and he showed up with a Georgia shirt. I actually got the screenshot on my phone of him in a Georgia shirt. Yeah, that’s my boy.”
“I’ve been talking to De’Nylon since the beginning of my sophomore year,” Alexander said. “We have a very close relationship.”
Morrissette has played in Maryland and then in Metro Atlanta in his varsity career. How does he cultivate a connection like that with a player from the Birmingham Metro area?
“Just through social media,” he said. “We’ve got a Class of 2022 group chat on Snapchat and just on Instagram and social media.”
He appreciates the skills Morrissette brings to the table at receiver.
“He’s nice,” Alexander said. “His first game back when he was at Georgia he had like three touchdowns. He went crazy that game. I just know him from social media. I like him a lot. He’s a ‘Dawg.”
What did Morrissette have to say about that?
“Top players around the country know each other,” he said. “That’s all I can say.”
And then he added one very intriguing follow-up thought.
“We are going to pull him in though,” Morrissette said. “For sure.”
Does he actually think Georgia has a chance with Alexander?
“Oh yeah,” the talented WR commit said. “Yes, sir. He and I, well we [are] on the phone. We definitely do. I can’t say why. I don’t want to tell his business, but I definitely do.”
Jeremiah Alexander ranks as the nation's No. 1 weak-side DE and the No. 14 overall prospect for 2022 on the 247Sports Composite rankings. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
(check on the recent recruiting reads on DawgNation.com)