Tyce Alexander is starting for the McMurry University football team as a true freshman.
The Normangee High School graduate beat out an older player to earn the starting nod at right tackle, said Bradley Oh, offensive line coach, though Alexander is not the only true freshman starting on the offensive line.
"I was really surprised," Alexander said about winning the starting spot for the War Hawks, who opened with three consecutive losses.
He said he began the preseason at left tackle, then was moved to the right side, where he played during high school. In an emergency, he is able to fill in at left tackle. "He's very, very athletic," Oh said.
The football staff came across Alexander while recruiting in central Texas, and Alexander made an official visit during the spring, Oh said. Alexander was 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds then.
After a summer of lifting weights and conditioning, Alexander is listed on the roster at 270 pounds. "He's a great size. He's just got to get stronger," the coach said. "We're going against grown men here day in and day out."
Thus far, Oh said, Alexander is better at run protection than pass protection. He has been working to improve his footwork and use of hands. "I'm trying not to false step," Alexander said.
He's also trying to get in a lower position to block defenders. "It's an old habit where I stand high," he said. "I'm trying to stay low. When I get low, I can move guys more effectively. I have a good low base."
Alexander said he is comfortable with McMurry's hurry-up spread offense because he played that during high school.
Freshman Luis Aceves played in one game of the first six games for Blinn College. The midfielder is out of Madisonville High.
Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at firstname.lastname@example.org.