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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
CB Mackensie Alexander picks Clemson

By Mitch Sherman

Cornerback Mackensie Alexander of Immokalee (Fla.) High School, the No. 2 corner and No. 4 overall prospect in the ESPN 150, selected Clemson on Wednesday in a ceremony at his high school. Alexander, the No. 2-ranked player in Florida, visited Auburn and Mississippi State late but settled on a school to which he made an official visit in November.

He said he connected with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.

“He’s a church guy like me,” Alexander said in an interview on ESPNU. “I trust in them guys. I’m going to be in a great position.”

He acknowledged the high level of competition in the Southeastern Conference but predicted success for Clemson during his time there.

“We’re going to win the national title,” Alexander said.

What is the impact of Alexander's decision?

Instant Analysis

What it means for Clemson: Alexander is a huge score for the Tigers and Swinney, who stepped up their game this year in landing elite defensive talent. In addition to Alexander, who replaces No. 1 overall prospect Robert Nkemdiche as the gem of their class -- Nkemdiche decommitted from the Tigers this past fall -- Clemson’s group of recruits includes No. 3 inside linebacker Ben Boulware, No. 8 outside linebacker Dorian O’Daniel and 10th-rated defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko, all members of the ESPN 150.

What it means for Mississippi State, Auburn: Disappointment for Mississippi State and Auburn, but both SEC schools landed top defensive players on Wednesday to ease the sting.

Turning point: Mackensie and his twin brother, Mackenro Alexander, a safety, decided in the final days that they would be OK at different schools after they were long considered a package deal. Mackenro signed with Auburn.

Surprise (scale of 1-5): 3. Because Alexander visited Mississippi State and Auburn in January, the SEC schools appeared to have an edge over Clemson and Texas A&M. But Alexander kept his recruiting so secretive that no decision would have come as a shock.

Immediate impact (scale of 1-5): 4. As a shutdown cornerback, Alexander can step right into Brent Venables’ defensive system and contribute. Physically, Alexander is ready, and his work ethic is legendary in Immokalee.