Mackensie Alexander

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Injury Report: Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander questionable vs. Alabama

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One of the key individual matchups for tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship may not be able to live up to the hype. Clemson defensive back Mackensie Alexander is reportedly not 100 percent due to a hamstring injury suffered in practice this week. His status for the national championship game later tonight is being reported as questionable.

Alexander was expected to be paired up with Alabama star freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who was named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America earlier today. Mackensie has been asked about matching up with Ridley leading up to the game, and he was ready to back up his talk with his performance against one of the top wide receivers from the SEC.

As The Post and Courier reporter Aaron Brenner notes, if Clemson is unable to go with Alexander on defense, then junior Cordrea Tankersley and sophomore Adrian Baker will be expected to get more playing time.

Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander: This is a new year and it’s our time

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Despite being undefeated and the number one team in the College Football Playoff ranking, the Clemson Tigers are playing the role of underdog for a second straight postseason game Monday night when they take on Alabama for the national championship. Alabama opened as a 5.5-point favorite and is currently anywhere between a 6.5 to seven-point favorite according to the latest odds. Alabama tends to get a couple of points leeway from the oddsmakers just for being Alabama, and most seem to understand that is always going to be the case. That doesn’t mean Clemson players have to like it.

Continuing the no-respect narrative orchestrated by head coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander suggested he has had enough hearing about how great Alabama is and is ready to prove Clemson is indeed the best team in the country.

“We are 14-0, and we were underdogs last week, it’s all a brand thing,” Alexander said Saturday during media day (via Al.com). “Everyone cares about the brand, the Alabama brand. I understand it’s a lot of fans, and they’ve done it for a long time, but this is a new year, and it’s our time.”

Alexander will be squaring off with Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley in one of the top matchups to watch in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. With that being the case, Alexander has been asked plenty about the man he will be covering Monday night.

Clemson appears to be run with the disrespect card to their advantage. If it worked against Oklahoma in the semifinal matchup in the Orange Bowl, the hope is it works again tomorrow night.

“They said Oklahoma was the best team, and we just went out there and proved them wrong,” Clemson safety Jayron Kearse said. “So that’s the same thing we have to do with Alabama. They say Alabama’s a seven-point favorite; we have to go out there and prove them wrong.”

For purely entertainment purposes, Alabama is 8-7 against the spread this season. Clemson is 7-8 against the spread, and 1-0 against the spread as an underdog.

Surprise! Mountain West leads all conferences on Jim Thorpe Award watch list

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Today may be the beginning of college football’s media day season, but it also marks the continuation of watch list season. Today’s watch list reveal came from the Jim Thorpe Award, which named 42 of college football’s top defensive backs. In what may be considered a bit of a surprise as far as watch lists go, the Mountain West Conference landed the most players on the watch list for the award. Take that power conferences!

Six players from the MWC appear on the watch list, including a pair of players from Boise State (Donte Deayon, Darian Thompson). The ACC and Pac-12 each had five players on the watch list, including 2014 semifinalists Jeremy Cash (Duke) and Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech). The Big 12, Conference USA, MAC and Sun Belt Conference each have four players on the watch list, and the Big Ten, SEC and American Athletic Conference each have three.

2015 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

Ishmael Adams, UCLA
Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
Tony Annese, Central Michigan
Budda Baker, Washington
Adairius Barnes, Louisiana Tech
Dante Barnett, Kansas State
Vonn Bell, Ohio State
Quin Blanding, Virginia
Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee
Michael Caputo, Wisconsin
Jeremy Cash, Duke
Tony Conner, Ole Miss
Donte Deayon, Boise State
Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
Nate Holley, Kent State
Adoreé Jackson, USC
William Jackson, Houston
Randall Jette, Massachusetts
Jonathan Jones, Auburn
Karl Joseph, West Virginia
Damontae Kazee, San Diego State
Montres Kitchens, Troy
Mitch Lane, ULM
Richard Leonard, FIU
William Likely, Maryland
Paris Logan, Northern Illinois
Trent Matthews, Colorado State
Adrian McDonald, Houston
Doug Middleton, Appalachian State
David Mims II, Texas State
Fabian Moreau, UCLA
Parry Nickerson, Tulane
Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma State
Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
Max Redfield, Notre Dame
Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
Jordan Simone, Arizona State
Weston Steelhammer, Air Force
Darian Thompson, Boise State
JJ Whittaker, San Diego State
Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech

Young talent from SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 highlights FWAA Freshman All-America team

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The state of Texas is ripe with football talent. A total of nine players named to the Football Writers Association of America’s Freshman All-America team hail from the state of Texas, including Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett and Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine. A total of 30 players were named to the FWAA Freshman All-America Team, and Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin was also honored following his first season as head coach of the Broncos.

This year’s Freshman All-America team features six players from the SEC. The Big 12 and Big Ten each have five players represented. The Pac-12 has four players and the ACC has two.

The freshman All-America team chosen by the football writers features some of the top young running backs in the sport. In addition to Perine, Oregon’s Royce Freeman, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and LSU’s Leonard Fournette all were honored. Fournette was chosen as the all-purpose selection by the football writers. These are all players that give the 2015 season reason to believe running bacsk could thrive.

Here is the full Freshman All-America team as organized by a select panel of Football Writers Association of America members.

OFFENSE

QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

RB Nick Chubb, Georgia

RB Royce Freeman, Oregon

RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma

WR Devonte Boyd, UNLV

WR KD Cannon, Baylor

AP Leonard Fournette, LSU

OL Brian Allen, Michigan State

OL Tejan Koroma, BYU

OL Toa Lobendahn, USC

OL Brandon Ray, Western Kentucky

OL Cam Robinson, Alabama

DEFENSE

DL Derek Barnett, Tennessee

DL Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State

DL Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State

DL Kemoko Turay, Rutgers

LB DJ Calhoun, Arizona State

LB Nyles Morgan, Notre Dame

LB Craig Suits, Tulsa

LB Taylor Young, Baylor

CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson

CB Adoreé Jackson, USC

S Quin Blanding, Virginia

S Kamari Cotton-Moya, Iowa State

SPECIAL TEAMS

P JK Scott, Alabama

K Matthew McCrane, Kansas State

PR De’Mornay Pierson-El, Nebraska

KR Darius Phillips, Western Michigan

HEAD COACH

Bryan Harson, Boise State