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Irish get visit from blue-chip Florida CB Mackensie Alexander

Jun 13, 2012, 4:22 PM EST

Mackensie Alexander

It’s easy to point to cornerback as a position of need for the Irish. After losing Tee Shepard before making it to spring practice, turning away talented cornerbacks Yuri Wright and Anthony Standifer, and losing long-time Irish commitment Ronald Darby, Notre Dame needs to make sure they add some cornerback depth in the 2013 recruiting class.

They’ve already done that with recruits Devin Butler and Rashad Kinlaw, two important early grabs at the position. With the Irish also among 40-plus schools chasing Tampa cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (the Irish are in good position, but Hargreaves is in no hurry to narrow his list), Notre Dame is also taking dead aim at another one of Florida’s best cover-men, Immokalee’s Mackensie Alexander.

Alexander, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound cornerback has offers from an elite list of schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC among others. Yet for the first-team All-State Florida selection it’s a five-day jaunt to South Bend, with Alexander set to arrive tonight and stay through the weekend, that has some feeling the Irish have the inside track to one of the nation’s best cover corner prospects.

“Mackensie doesn’t go on trips,” Immokalee High School head coach Jerrod Ackley told IrishSportsDaily.com, putting into context just how impressive this visit is for the Irish.

“I think he wants to get the whole Notre Dame experience; see what South Bend is like, be able to get to know some of the players, get to know more the staff than the two he’s met so far and really use this to evaluate Notre Dame,” Ackley told ISD.

The Irish are recruiting Alexander hard with both recruiting coordinator Tony Alford and co-defensive coordinator Kerry Cooks, who would also coach Alexander’s position group. At Wisconsin, Cooks was responsible for bringing another Immokalee talent into the fold, recruiting Aaron Henry, a standout performer for the Badgers who signed a free agent contract with the Oakland Raiders.

Alexander committed to Tennessee way back in January, making an early decision before stepping away from that choice. After impressing at the US Army All-American combine, Alexander’s star rose considerably, turning his recruitment into a full court press that was likely overwhelming. That the Irish could get their message through a ton of static says a lot about the work Alford and Cooks have been doing.

Jake Brown at IrishIllustrated.com got a nice coach out of Ackley hitting on this:

“For Mackensie to go anywhere is a step closer than most anyone else has gotten with him,” Immokalee head coach Ackley told IrishIllustrated.com. “Mackensie, even though he initially committed to Tennessee and backed off, he hasn’t gone on any things like a lot of kids do that are national recruits. This will be a good experience for him. It’s gonna be a different world for him but I’m excited that he’s going to check it out because I think it’s a place he could be successful.”

Taking a look from a broader perspective, the Irish have focused (or at least been much more successful) getting recruits on campus much earlier this year than last recruiting cycle. With a wide footprint last season, the Irish relied on official visits to be the main on-campus sales tool. For some elite recruits, that meant Notre Dame got sometimes as little as 24 to 36 hours to make a lasting impression, with the coaching staff’s attention also diverted to game preparation as well as other recruits. With first impressions being so important in a recruiting game that continues to push earlier and earlier, getting a talented corner from South Florida like Mackenzie on campus for five days will be key. We’ll likely have a much better idea of where the Irish stand after this weekend, but they’re certainly off to a good start.

  1. nudeman - Jun 13, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Houston

    • brazilianirish - Jun 15, 2012 at 4:06 AM

      South Bend.

  2. bernhtp - Jun 13, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    re: “I think he wants to get the whole Notre Dame experience; see what South Bend is like, be able to get to know some of the players,…”

    I hope that the tour of South Bend does not go further from campus than Eddy St. Commons. Ugh! With that said, the campus is absolutely beautiful this time of year. He will be highly impressed; everyone is. It will also be great to be there not only with incoming members of the team, but a bunch of highly-enthusiastic commits/recruits like Malik Zaire and Jaylon Smith.

    Nude: regarding “Houston,” do you have info on this guy that indicates he is in that category? While Kelly has some greater latitude on a fraction of the class that constitute critical recruits, I am confident that the bar has been reset significantly above TS. They really don’t want to make that mistake again.

  3. Keith Arnold - Jun 13, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    @Bernhtp: On Houston — Nude is just being a typical wiseguy. He finds enjoyment doing things like this.

    As for visiting campus and South Bend proper. Not sure if you’ve ever been to Immokalee, but South Bend is just fine. If the surrounding area were a huge problem for schools, then USC would never get a kid to commit to that neighborhood.

    • standingdomer - Jun 13, 2012 at 6:30 PM

      totally agree. great point on USC. I don’t think South Bend (Notre Dame’s campus aside) is all that remarkable… either positive or negative. There isn’t much to Tuscaloosa either. Yale and UChicago, for that matter, do just fine attracting the folks they recruit as well. Regardless of the field, winners want to win.

    • bernhtp - Jun 13, 2012 at 7:12 PM

      Keith,

      I completely understand Nude and his tendencies, but wanted to see if there was anything he knew specifically about Alexander that would associate him with the DG/TS duo, or just making a generically caustic comment.

      I go to South Bend 3-4 times a year and that is within the context of knowing the city better than anyone many, many years ago. While there are pockets of gentrification and renewal (mostly ND related), the city is dying overall. The industries have left and most of the neighborhoods are decaying (e.g., south and west sides).

      The campus itself is gorgeous – the most beautiful and awe-inspiring university I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to many. Areas around campus are also nice, but once you get too far, it gets really bad, and I mean really, really bad.

      Of course, the area around USC is very bad. In fact, while the ND campus is isolated and enjoys some distance from the bad parts of South Bend, USC lacks this benefit. However, go 5 miles from USC, and you get into some really nice and exciting places. This cannot be said of Notre Dame and South Bend.

      As I’ve said before, you go to Notre Dame to go to Notre Dame, certainly not South Bend.

      • nudeman - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:01 AM

        A “generically caustic comment”

        And YOU think that I take this board too seriously?

      • bernhtp - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:09 AM

        I never said you took things too seriously. Pretty much the opposite.

        So what is wrong with Alexander? Why the Houston comment?

      • nudeman - Jun 14, 2012 at 10:36 AM

        bern
        Nothing is wrong with Alexander.
        I know nothing about him other than what we’ve all read.
        As Keith noted, I was just being a wise guy and stirring it up
        Slow time of year for ND football news, so what the hell

    • gtizzo - Jun 13, 2012 at 9:31 PM

      Hey Keith,

      I love the recruiting updates something I have mentioned previously but feel needs to be repeated. Mostly because I’m tired of going to 3 different websites for recruiting information. Please keep them up! I know that is easier in the summer then during the season, but I’m sure you can handle it (Keith you also provide much better incite then anyone else). Pulling this kid out of Florida and SEC country along with a few others would be huge for ND. Follows my theme of going young but talented.

      • kleinick - Jun 14, 2012 at 4:24 PM

        Totally agree on the recruiting updates, the more the merrier Keith.

        As for Alexander spending 5 nights in South Bend? That’s very impressive, and he’ll either love it or think it’s boring. Hopefully the boys can pull together a few parties with some cute chicks ;-)

    • msmmh - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      I agree with the Immokalee reference, Played HS basketball there many times and made it out alive. Immokalee makes Elkhart look like Paris France. Sports are locals way out.

  4. ccad05 - Jun 13, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Wow…….,I happen to live in south bend 365 days a year. Yes industries are gone and like EVERY city there are bad parts, but what a morbid picture you paint of life and the people here. It may not be the most exciting city for the partying group but it’s not all that bad. I grew up on the south side and work there also. They’ve made big improvements there and are still improving it. New stores new restaurants new roads. There’s is plenty to do around here but you just have to look sometimes if you aren’t here already. South bend is no different than any other city except for the fact that we have the greatest university in America. GO IRISH!!!

  5. ccad05 - Jun 13, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Back on topic, I have a very good feeling about this anzalone kid.

    • nudeman - Jun 13, 2012 at 11:57 PM

      Any word on Lynch?

      • Keith Arnold - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:24 AM

        Boy, you really get a kick out of peeing in other people’s Cheerios. Bravo, Nude.

      • danirish - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:44 AM

        Any word on Andrew Hendrix being moved to safety?

      • nudeman - Jun 14, 2012 at 10:43 AM

        “Peeing in other peoples’ Cheerios”. Eewwwwwww

        I’ll give you a pass on this one Keith, but please tone it down

        On a serious note, is this the new Keith?
        You’ve actually engaged 2 or 3 times in this thread
        I think that’s a good thing.

      • paiten34 - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:33 PM

        No one wants to hear that turn coats name.

  6. nudeman - Jun 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Chans Cox (ASU) and Jordan Mastrogiovanni (OK) are off the board.
    Anzalone becomes that much more important

    • paiten34 - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:43 PM

      Cox is a great kid and ASU is happy to have him. However he could very well just be a product of his own dominant play VS far lesser talent. He plays at nowhere vill AZ. He is quick, strong and fast on the field. I’ll reserve any decision until I see him verses major college talent. As of now he’s a kid dominating lesser talent as he should.

  7. audomer - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Mackensie…….Hmmmm. Sounds Irish to me!!!

  8. charliegirl1 - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Nudeman(I feel ridiculous even typing this handle), maybe Keith has reached a certain threshold of irritation with your comments, and he was no longer able to conceal his annoyance. Keith seems like a genuinely nice guy, but he really seems to dislike some of the more juvenile antics on this site. On the other hand, I may be wrong, and he finds these threads insightful and thought-provoking. Of course, this is all under the guise of ‘just having fun’. But, is it really fun if no one else is enjoying it?

    • nudeman - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:28 PM

      And here’s another possibility, charliegirl:
      Maybe Keith would like to speak for himself

  9. charliegirl1 - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Try not to get so indignant. You started the discussion about the ‘New Keith’ and wondered why he was so involved in this thread. I offered a plausible explanation. For the benefit of the readers, I’ll bow out of this discussion now and hopefully put it to an end. BTW, very excited about the new recruit and the pipeline to Florida talent. Feeling good about 2013!

  10. 1historian - Jun 15, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Nudie – you do indeed seem to enjoy getting under people’s skin and ticking them off, and today you seem to be at the top of your game.

    Must be the summer doldrums

    77 and counting

    • nudeman - Jun 15, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      Just stirring it up 1Histy
      Dog days of summer, just waiting for the real action to start

  11. rcali - Jun 21, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    So how long before he’s back playing for a Florida school? One winter?

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