CLEMSON — Imagine the endorsements if Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander were actually allowed by the NCAA to endorse.
La-Z-Boy: the official lounge chair of Mackensie Alexander. Minute Maid Lemonade: Brought to you by Mackensie Alexander. Snickers: Got a minute? Mackensie Alexander has 60.
Poor guy. Nobody wants to play with him.
Opposing offenses went out of their way to avoid him. Despite a Clemson defense-high 766 snaps in 2014, Alexander ranked No. 19 in tackles with 22 — that’s one tackle for every 35 plays.
Doctor, mechanic and cornerback: three professions where the best ones send away customers without a return trip. Simply put, Alexander shut down his half of the field in 2014, with one slip-up only slightly marring what was unequivocally a thriving redshirt freshman season.
Alexander came to Clemson as one of its most ballyhooed defensive back recruits in years, and would have played — perhaps even started — in 2013 if not for a groin injury. Then he trotted out for 13 games last fall and barely had his name called by commentators, the chief goal of any corner. (By the way, Alexander had a meager six deflected passes and zero interceptions.)
Alas, there was one banana peel. Florida State’s Rashad Greene was racing down the right sideline toward a deep pass when Alexander tripped on the turf, leaving Greene free to score a momentum-swinging 80-yard touchdown in a game the Seminoles won in overtime.
Besides that, Alexander did his job as capably as he was expected. It’s a rich cornerback crop in the ACC — Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey and Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller are also standouts — meaning the mere journey for first-team all-ACC will be an entertaining one.
With Garry Peters gone from last year’s all-conference campaign, Clemson needs track star Cordrea Tankersley or hard-hitting Ryan Carter to step up, or one of the other young cornerbacks to emerge.
Those are question marks. Alexander’s impact, given good health, is not.
Friday: No. 10 DT D.J. Reader
Saturday: No. 9 C Ryan Norton
Sunday: No. 8 WR Mike Williams
Monday: No. 7 S Jayron Kearse
Tuesday: No. 6 LB Ben Boulware
Wednesday: No. 5 CB Mackensie Alexander
Thursday: No. 4