Charles Alexander ‘Giant’ success


Tim Chard

Charles Alexander practices with his teammates on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Sean Tongson

A casual observer might think that Los Medanos Mustang Charles Alexander was born to play the game of football. Standing  at an imposing 6’4”, weighing 300 pounds and unsurprisingly referred to as “Giant”, it is hard to imagine Al- exander playing anything but football. In spite of winning numerous  honors and awards and the admiration and respect of his coaches and teammates, football was in fact, NOT the first love of Charles Alexander.

“Honestly, I was a basketball fan growing up,” remarked Alexander. “I admired Shaquille O’Neal. I star ted playing basketball when I was 6 or

7-years-old. I played it all the way until my senior year in high school. Then I decided to give football a tr y.”

Simply tr ying football paid of f for Alexander.  After a slow star t during his sophomore year, he attracted the interest of his coaches , and was named all camp defensive linemen by the end of the year. It was an honor  that he would earn three years in a row. During his junior year at Deer Valley, his team went undefeated 11-0, and earned honorable mention junior year. He was named all league defensive lineman during his senior year.

Born on Sept. 25, 1993, Charles lived in Pittsburg for 10 years before moving to Antioch where he attended Deer Valley High School. While his two older brother’s football experience proved to be influential for Alexander, he sites another special influence.

“My biggest influence is my uncle. He passed away when I was 12 or

13. He taught me quite a few things on how to be a man. He was a pretty strong influence on who I am today. He inspired me to do what I am doing now. I’m tr ying to honor his memor y.” Despite his natural athleticism and passion for football and basketball, the road wasn’t always easy for Alexander

during his journey to the gridiron.

“I have learned a lot of things the bad way, but that made me a better player.” When Charles started playing football during his sophomore year, his primary goal was to get a scholarship. “That was my main focus through high school.  But things didn’t quite work out. My grades were a little low. My parents got into a car accident, and I had to be at home to take care of them while still balancing out football, basketball and school.”

Thankfully, by senior year, Alex- ander’s parents were recovered and healthy. His grades improved, and he kept playing football. Soon thereafter, coaches took notice.

Despite his love for the game of basketball, Alexander found his transition from basketball to playing football full time to be quite smooth.

“As soon  as I started playing football, it took away from basketball, which kind of faded away. I had more of the physical tools for football.  It was a natural progression. It worked out for the best. It was a good thing.”

Wearing number 95, and often com- pared to all-pro Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, Alexander calmly breaks down his responsibilities as a defensive end, and the importance of his position.

“My job always changes based on the situation. It’s a lot more difficult than on paper. Sometimes my responsibility is the quarterback, sometimes it’s the running back. My job is to keep the quarterback in the pocket, which makes it easier for the cornerbacks and safeties downfield. I pressure the quarterback, but it can sometimes  make him more dangerous depending on his mobility. It definitely takes a team effort.”

Playing team sports and believing it is a team sport without basking in the adulation and the glory seems to be a rarity these days, but does not seem lost at all with Alexander.

“He’s a real true athlete,” says teammate Brian Thomas. “He’s a real good player, physically and mentally. He’s willing to take a leadership role. He can take criticism well. He can play both parts of the field, whether he is playing or coaching. He’s always learning new things. He’s an overall top player. He handles his business in the classroom. And he’s an overall good guy on and off the field.”

“He’s great. That’s all you got to say,” added defensive coordinator Darrin Foreman. “He doesn’t give any attitude. He always tries his hardest.”

Alexander’s coaches recognize the reality of his ability to play football beyond LMC.

“I hope so. That’s kind of the goal. He’s got the size to play anywhere he wants to play. I’m not the best person to interview about him, because I just like him,” said Foreman.

In spite of his impressive list of credentials, his accomplishments, and the respect and admiration of his fellow teammates and coaches, Alexander has remained humble.

“I’m trying to add to them,” casually remarked the reserved Alexander. “I’m always trying to make myself better. All the other stuff comes natural. As long as you put your best effort into it, everything else will fall into place.”