The timing made sense for A.J. Alexander, fresh off an impressive junior campaign for the Lake Braddock basketball team that featured Virginia 6A North All-Region honors and a key role in the Bruins’ run to their first state semifinal appearance.
But the offers that have rolled in for Alexander during the past two months aren’t concerning his skills on the basketball court. For as good as the the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder is, he’s even better on the gridiron, where he ranks as a four-star wide receiver and 11th among juniors from Virginia in ESPN’s player rankings.
Miami is the latest Football Bowl Subdivision school to offer Alexander, adding to a growing list of more than 20 schools that includes Virginia, Virginia Tech, Northwestern, Penn State, Illinois, Wake Forest and Wisconsin.
“More of the offers started coming in a few weeks ago,” Alexander said in a Monday phone interview. “Once the 2014 class was signed and once coaches started going out and recruiting, I started getting more offers. I’ve also been going to camps and combines and that’s helped.”
While taking part in the Nike Football Training Camp and Rivals Football Camp, Alexander wowed recruiters and analysts with his athleticism, breakaway speed, physical play to separate from defenders and sure hands. The wide receiver/defensive back saw his confidence in these attributes receive a boost this past fall, when he garnered first-team All-Met honors with five interceptions on defense and 42 catches for 600 yards and nine touchdowns on offense.
Alexander recently took unofficial visits to Northwestern, Rutgers and Wake Forest. All three schools made an impression on him, from their academics to the coaches.
“They were all different in their own way and all had things that appeal to me,” Alexander said. “They’re all great schools, so now it’s just a matter of finding what’s the best match for me.”
Alexander said he plans to take another unofficial visit to Ohio State, which has shown strong interest, on the weekend of June 8 and will likely tour a handful of other campuses this summer. The visits will factor into Alexander’s anticipated commitment, which he said likely won’t come anytime soon.
“Some schools may fit well for others and some are good fits for me, so it’s my job to do my research and see where’s the best place for me,” Alexander said. “That’s why I’m not narrowing my list down or anything at this point. I haven’t seen every campus and I want to take it all in before I get to that point.”
Along with his college decision, Alexander will be focusing on his new role as a senior leader on a Lake Braddock team that made it to the 6A North region semifinals but graduates quarter and All-Met Offensive Player of the Year Caleb Henderson along with several weapons on both ends of the field. Still, that doesn’t chance Alexander’s outlook for the fall.
“My expectation is the same as it always is, to win a state championship,” Alexander said. “We are losing some important pieces, but we’ve just got to use our strengths to our advantage and figure out a way to win and reach that goal.”