WSJH senior promotes himself, signs with Southern Arkansas

Published 12:01 am Saturday, April 15, 2017

When the 2016 football season ended and he didn’t have any college scholarship offers, West St. John High School senior quarterback Austin Alexander wasn’t worried.

Although he loved the game of football, he knew it wasn’t his future.

He hoped track would be. Alexander was the only individual state champion from St. John the Baptist Parish in 2016.

He ran the Class 2A 100 meter dash in a time of 10.95 seconds, earning him the state title and the moniker, “Fastest Man in Class 2A.”

There were no offers on his table, however.

So Alexander went to work setting it.

The Edgard youngster directed his own recruiting, sending emails to all the track programs he liked, shopping himself around.

West St. John High School senior Austin Alexander stands by an extra large printout of his scholarship, which was signed this week securing the standout student a full ride to run track for Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Ark.

“I just tried to build a personal relationship with coaches,” he said. “Basically, I introduced myself, describing all my accolades and awards. Some coaches didn’t reply. Some of them did. Fortunately, I was able to have options.”

Alexander made his choice Wednesday, signing a full athletic scholarship offer to Southern Arkansas University in front of parents Adair Alexander and Keionni Favorite and a slew of aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings and the school’s student body.

“It means everything because all my family was able to come,” he said. “That was the most important thing for me, to have everybody here.”

He soon will be leaving them all behind to become a Mulerider.

Alexander chose the small college in Magnolia, Ark., after making a detour from his intended path to Louisiana Tech University.

“Originally, we were supposed to just go to La. Tech,” Alexander said. “Southern Arkansas came up kind of late, so we said, ‘OK. It’s only an hour away.’ We got there and I was like, this is a really nice school. Then we got to La. Tech and I was, like, this isn’t what we thought it would be. Southern Arkansas really surprised us.”

Adair Alexander, Austin’s father, who accompanied him on the trip, said his son came up with the perfect analogy for the experience.

Austin’s mother, Keionni Favorite, is seen wiping away tears.

“He said, ‘Dad, I wanted to date the prettiest girl at school but I wound up falling for the girl in the corner that really wasn’t paying me any attention,’” Adair said.

West St. John football coach Brandon Walters said Alexander deserves a bright future. The youngster went through a tumultuous football season, missing one entire game after suffering a concussion early in another. Still he passed for 1,535 yards and rushed for 1,310, scoring 23 touchdowns.

Alexander plans to focus only on track now, however. He is preparing for the upcoming district, regional and state meets with intentions to repeat as state champion.

“He’s a hell of a track athlete,” Walters said.

“I told him to just be patient. He had offers from about four or five different schools and he’s signing a full athletic scholarship. I think he’s going to thrive really well. He’s a phenomenal worker.”

Adair Alexander, who was a standout athlete at West St. John in the late 1990s, said he was proud of his son’s take-charge attitude in his recruiting process.

“I am a proud papa,” he said. “I never had anything happen this big. I didn’t have a personal signing day. The one thing I wanted to make sure my son understood was, this was his five minutes. As a father, as a proud parent, this was an opportunity to watch him go through everything he had to go through and actually get the reward at the end. I think I was more excited than he was.”