Wide receiver was and is a key need for Michigan State in the 2018 recruiting class and the Spartans recently added Javez Alexander, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound prospect from Sandusky (Ohio) at that position.
Alexander’s story may be a little different than that of the Spartans’ other receiver targets, though. He was offered a scholarship on June 27 and committed the very next day. He has never played wide receiver before. He has started at quarterback at Sandusky for two seasons, but the Spartans have transitioned other high school quarterbacks to receiver before, notably Tony Lippett, Keith Nichol and currently Trishton Jackson.
It takes unusual athleticism to be able to do that, but Alexander has those traits.
“We knew he was special coming in as a freshman,” Sandusky head coach Mike Franklin said, “but we like to keep our freshmen intact as a team. Unless they will start 10 games, we keep the classes together. He got in for a few plays here and there because we carried him with us (on varsity). We knew he was a good player. Our booster club provides funds for kids to go to camps and I approached them about Javez and said he’s special and we need him seen around our area and throughout the state and even the country with schools coming in.”
Alexander had offers from several schools to play quarterback, including Bowling Green and Air Force, but he knew when Michigan State offered, that would be his best situation. He had already been to campus twice, and beyond football, MSU offered him what he wanted academically.
“He is a 3.9 student,” Franklin said. “He volunteers in several programs within our community. He is a 23 ACT kid. I’ll have him in my AP Biology class next year, so he takes high-level courses. That is the most important thing colleges look for, is the type of person they are outside of football, and he is definitely a special player on the field, but he is off of it as well. He is very focused on engineering. Every place he talked to, he asked about the engineering school before anything else and Michigan State has a very good engineering school, so that turned him on to them quite a bit.”
Despite Alexander having no experience at wide receiver, Franklin is confident he will be able to make the move because of his natural gifts and how easily took to other athletic endeavors last year.
“He’s an all-around athlete,” Franklin said. “He was part of our regional semifinal basketball team this year. He definitely could have been on the track team, but he loves the game of football, so last year, as a sophomore, he did not play any other sport except football. He is such a good athlete, we told him he needed to help our other programs and basically made him play basketball or run track. He chose to play basketball and started on our regional semifinal team. He is that type of athlete.”
Alexander’s freshman season, Sandusky was 2-7. As a sophomore, with him at quarterback, they were 6-4. Last season, his junior year, the team went 10-2 and won a playoff game. Now they have a Big Ten athlete to go along with the other strides the program has made.
“He provides leadership wherever he goes,” Franklin said. “We had a great group of seniors last year that provided leadership and we have a great group this year. It’s an exciting moment for his family, his mom for sure, and the community. We have done some good things last year with the program, and we expect to again this year. You hope it motivates younger kids, seeing that to play that level of football, it’s not just athletic skills, but academic skills too that matter.”
The Spartans now have 12 commits in the 2018 class. Alexander is one of eight from the state of Ohio.
Last season, Alexander finished with 1,779 yards and two touchdown passing, and 999 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.