While his focus is concentrated on the next game, in this case the Columbus North at Columbus East football clash on Friday, one Bull Dogs senior understands his early-season play will have recruiting ramifications.
Wide receiver Alex Algee has the same dream as many of his teammates, to play football at the next level.
The current season is getting Algee’s full attention, though, because he knows that if he takes care on business on the field in high school, the rest of it will work out.
“The first three games are crucial to have big numbers,” Algee said. “We need to get film out.”
After North’s 54-7 victory against host Franklin in the opener on Friday, Algee already has three weeks worth of highlights. He caught nine balls for 204 yards, a 22.7 yards-per-catch average with two touchdowns.
One of his highlight plays was a 79-yard touchdown catch-and-run on a middle screen where he weaved through the Franklin defensive secondary and then pulled clear with a burst of speed.
The smaller school programs, such as St. Francis, definitely are interested. Now it is a matter of finding out whether some larger programs, such as Mid-American Conference schools, want to take a shot at him.
“The recruiting process is a crazy train,” Algee said. “You never know what the next day is going to be like. I’m a little nervous, but I’m not really worried.”
His teammates who face him in practice know that everything will work out just fine for Algee. North’s defenders experience the same feeling when Algee catches a ball during workouts.
“We’re always going, ‘Oh crap,'” said North senior Drew Schoeberl, whose primary duties are as a defensive end this season. “He’s fast, and he knows what to do with the ball in his hands.”
Columbus East coach Bob Gaddis said that the speed of Algee and North tailback Mitchell Burton keeps the pressure on the defense.
“If you make a mistake, it could be a touchdown,” Gaddis said. “There will be that kind of talent on the field.”
Although Algee said he was timed in the 40-yard dash in 4.55, he appears even faster.
“With my cleats on, my mission is to score,” he said.
Is there a difference between football speed and track speed?
“Yeah, for sure,” he said. “It’s different in pads. I feel lighter.”
He admits that such a thought doesn’t make a lot of sense, but anyone watching a North game might have noticed that Algee does not get caught from behind.
“You get that mentality that you have to score,” Algee said.
Speed is just part of the equation. Algee has learned how to get separation from the defensive backs in order to make himself an attractive target for junior quarterback Triston Perry.
“This off-season, I knew it would be my senior year and I had to step up. So Triston and I met a couple of times a week (to practice). We have that connection now where we give each other a little look and we know where we are going. It comes naturally to us.”
He worked hard on running his routes and just catching the football.
“You don’t need to be the fastest guy to run these routes,” he said. “The crispness of your routes is a big part of it.”
Once he gets the ball, he gives the Bull Dogs the all-important yards after the catch.
“I have a little bit of running back in me,” he said.
On top of everything else, he was selected as one of the team’s captains for the season. He takes that job seriously.
“I looked forward to being a captain since I was a freshman,” he said.
When he was a freshman, he had players he admired and who helped him. “I wanted to be somebody (the underclassmen) could look up to and follow,” he said. “It means a lot to me.”
Besides performing on the field, being a captain comes with responsibilities.
“You definitely have to act differently,” Algee said. “You have to be there for the guys. You can’t goof off, and you get on a different level of maturity.
“I try to be a good example, and there is a ton of respect that goes with it.”
SCHOOL: Columbus North
POSITION: Wide receiver
SIZE: 6-foot-1, 185
2014 STATS: 21 receptions for 400 yards, a 19 yards-per-catch average, 5 TDs.
VS. FRANKLIN ON FRIDAY: 9 receptions for 204 yards, a 22.7 yards-per-catch average, 2 touchdowns