A torn ACL, MCL and meniscus his sophomore year. A torn ACL and meniscus his senior year.
Most people would have walked away from the game of football.
Not Zac Alexander.
The Fleming County wideout/linebacker battled through his injuries, put countless hours of rehab in and signed his national letter of intent with Lindsey Wilson College on Friday.
“I just love the game and today is a big accomplishment for me,” Alexander said. “Going from Division I schools looking at me and then I get hurt and all the schools dropping. Then all of the sudden Lindsey Wilson comes in. I’m just glad to be playing again. I don’t know what I’d do without it really.”
Alexander started to hit his stride during his sophomore season, catching 18 passes for 260 yards and four touchdowns on the offensive side while recording 52 tackles with a fumble and an interception return for a touchdown on the defensive side in seven games of action before suffering his first knee injury.
He’d rehab and was good to go for his junior season, wowing folks with highlight-reel catches, including one that won’t be forgotten against Greenup County when he caught a deep ball from Josh Crump, fully stretched out and pulling it down with one hand.
“That was probably the most hyped I’ve ever been,” Alexander said.
He’d go on to catch 49 passes for 824 yards with seven touchdowns in his junior season to go with 92 tackles on the defensive end. His play started to merit Division I interest from Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Marshall and Cincinnati, among other schools.
“To have his size as a receiver and a linebacker was phenomenal,” Panthers coach Bill Spencer said.
After a strong summer of camps Alexander entered his senior season poised and driven to earn Division I offers. He opened the season against Mason County, doing his usually thing, catching four passes for 34 yards. But the fourth reception was a costly one.
As Alexander planted to make a cut, his knee gave out and then it happened again. First game in the first half of his senior year, it was all done. He’d suffer a torn ACL and meniscus and would be out the rest of the season.
“We sat back a lot and thought, what if we had him this year?,” Spencer said. “He’s definitely one of the better athletes we’ve had here.”
The calls and interest stopped from the Division I schools. But a week after his injury, Lindsey Wilson stayed precise and let him know the offer was still there.
“I went down to visit and they were really loving and could tell they were really football driven guys,” Alexander said. “I’ve been down for a couple visits since and they’ve all treated me like family. I’m just glad to be able to go play.”
He also excelled on the basketball floor. After being told he won’t play basketball his senior year, Alexander hit intense rehab and defied the odds, returning to the court for the Panthers in the district tournament.
“Without sports I don’t know where I’d be right now. It helped me out a lot and calmed me down,” Alexander said.
The rehab process is still ongoing, but when Alexander heads to Lindsey Wilson, he’ll enter healthier and ready to take things head on, just like he did his rehab.
“He was still at every practice every day. Never missed one. He was at every practice all season long. Never had to wonder where he was going to be. We patted him on the back every chance we got. He has that attitude to where we really didn’t have to,” Spencer said.
“He pushed himself just like this year with basketball. He had been told he was going to be out the entire year and he just kept with it, was there every day with basketball, kept with it and kept with it until he was ready to go at the end of the season. That’s just his strength is his work ethic and wanting to push himself and want to do the best that he can.”
Alexander said LWC recruited him to play wide out. At 6-foot-4 and running at 4.5 40-yard dash pre-injury, one can only think of the potential he’ll have there.
“I think that they know what kind of athlete they are getting in him. They know that they got a steal with him. If you get the ball close to him, he’s going to catch it.,” Spencer said.