5. Mackensie Alexander, CB
The Alabama Crimson Tide might be a run-first team in college football, but they also have a very good quarterback in Jake Coker who likes to burn teams deep after a heavy dose of running back Derrick Henry.
When Coker does decide to go deep on the defense, he always aims for his top wide receiver — freshmanCalvin Ridley. Ridley’s game has evolved over the season and he can haul in the tough pass for the Crimson Tide. He’s also got the speed to burn by defenders and set himself up for wide-open scores. With a dynamic threat in the passing game with Coker and Ridley, that means Clemson is going to need their best cover corner to step up and shut down Ridley.
That man is Mackensie Alexander, who has been doing the job all season for Clemson. Alexander has constantly been lining up against elite wide receivers all season and has done a great job of effectively shutting down one side of the field.
He’s going to face his biggest test against Ridley in the National Championship Game. Ridley can use a variety of moves with his footwork to beat defenders inside, outside and over the top. That’s where Alexander has to trust his instincts and his physical tools in this battle.
Next: 4. Kevin Dodd