Just be Me
Sedrick Alexander has scored three rushing touchdowns thus far in his first season as a Commodore
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — While most of Sedrick Alexander’s peers were returning to their high school classrooms after winter break last January, he was packing his bags for Nashville, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt University.
Since arriving on West End in January, Alexander has already begun impacting Vanderbilt’s offense. He has scored three rushing touchdowns thus far, the most of any Vanderbilt player this season, and ranks sixth among true freshman running backs in FBS.
Heading into the game at Florida, Alexander’s coaches told him he would be making his first collegiate start.
“I was excited to have the opportunity to go play my first college football game as a starter in the SEC,” Alexander said. “They [the coaches] loved how I’ve been playing and told me to continue doing what I’ve been doing, don’t do anything special, just be me…Being me was one of the key things I wanted to do, not be someone else. It’s about showing what I’ve got and what I can show for the team, showing them that I should be one the field that early.”
Having an extra semester of training with the team is something he identified as helping him make such an immediate impact. Although Alexander’s dual-credit classes in high school made his academic transition to Vanderbilt coursework rather smooth, he noted settling into the pace of college football as something he had to adapt to last spring.
“That [getting into the pace of college football] was challenging but as I have been here every day and have come in and kept doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, it got easier and easier,” he recalled.
Time to learn the playbook is another factor Alexander contributed to his early achievements. He pointed out that plays are more hectic in college, so he had to make sure he was “dialed in” to learn them.
“It’s something I really dialed down on and so since I know the plays and know exactly where I need to be on each and every play, it’s made it way easier for me,” he said.
Now, having already learned the playbook, Alexander has been able to hone in on and improve on more detailed aspects of his game. One of these areas he identified was reading his keys.
“I play running back, so reading my keys, knowing where the soft spots are, knowing the down and distance, just working on my pass retention,” he stated. “That’s something I have improved throughout the time I’ve been here, and I’m just happy to have a coach that pushes me to do exactly what I need to do to be the best person on the field.”
Head coach Clark Lea’s vision resonated with Alexander; it’s one of the main reasons he said he chose Vanderbilt.
“I wanted to come build a program and be a part of that,” he said.
The education he could receive was among the other reasons Alexander decided Vanderbilt was “the place he wanted to be.” He stated that he and his family had a goal of graduating high school early, and Vandy’s offer allowed him to do that, receive an excellent education and play football in the SEC, all while living in Nashville.
“Vanderbilt is one of the top schools in the world,” he said. “Coming here and getting a great education, while playing the sport that I love is something that really helped me come here. And playing in the SEC, the SEC is the best conference in college football, I just wanted to be a part of that. And we’re in a great city, Music City, Nashville, Tennessee, that’s something I loved.”
Looking at the remainder of his freshman season, Alexander expressed wanting to be the best running back he could be for himself and for the team. Of course, he also wants to continue being himself.
The Commodores will be back in action at home Saturday when they take on the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs at 11 a.m. on CBS.