NEW BRITAIN - As New Britain quarterback Jahfari Newman dropped back, he scanned the scout team defense ahead of him. He stepped forward and delivered a strike to one of his new targets, Jayshawn Alexandre, in the corner of the end zone for a completed pass.
It was a routine play for any receiver. But for Alexandre, it adds to an increasing role in his senior season for a team looking to get back to the state playoffs.
Already the Hurricanes No. 1 cornerback, the departures of Alex Silva and Daijon Hill, the team’s leading receivers from last year, have shifted Alexandre’s responsibilities. Instead of just playing on the outside on defense, he will be lining up on the same side as his team’s quarterback for the first time.
And Alexandre believes he’s more than up for the challenge.
“I worked all offseason,” he said. “I worked for three years straight to get my body ready for this, getting my conditioning ready, and I have great coaches pushing me every second of the way. I’m sure I can work both sides, no problem.”
It will be some tough production to make up. Silva finished 2016 with 38 catches for 611 yards and seven touchdowns. Hill brought in 35 passes for 553 yards and seven scores as well.
If anything, having spent so much time playing corner has made the transition to playing receiver that much smoother. Alexandre knows how a defensive back will react to certain movements and what is the best point to attack them.
“I’m able to pick up on a lot of cornerback’s tendencies and it’s easier for me to pick them up,” Alexandre said. “Now, for me as a receiver, I know a lot of things that I would do and a few things that help me out as a corner, so I can probably pick up tendencies after a good four or five plays and just do my thing.”
Alexandre figures to be one out a group of four new wideouts for Newman to throw to this season, and New Britain’s signal-caller has liked what he’s seen. This group, he says, has the chance to be good moving forward and is getting plenty of good reviews heading into Week 1.
“We put our playmakers in the right position,” Newman said. “Alex and Dajion were big losses, but these guys are picking it up and trying to get back to that level.
Throughout the summer, in both camp and in scrimmages, Alexandre has been making plays working in both the slot and on the outside. The regular season, however, will bring with it a different type of competition.
But that’s just fine with Alexandre. In the end, it’s all about helping the team win.
“Worst part [about playing outside] is probably having that corner right in your face,” Alexandre said. “In the slot, you have a little bit more freedom. But the best part is just making plays, going up top and snagging the ball.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach