Alexander switches from slinging fastball to footballs for Belmont

Belmont's Luke Alexander, right, made a big impact last year as a defensive back. Now he’s the Cardinals’ starting quarterback. (C. Todd Sherman/file)

Belmont’s Luke Alexander, right, made a big impact last year as a defensive back. Now he’s the Cardinals’
starting quarterback. (C. Todd Sherman/file)

BY BRANDON SPECK
DAILY JOURNAL

Luke Alexander is known for his arm. The Belmont junior and Daily Journal All-Area baseball player struck out 73 hitters last season for the Cardinals. He also hit .388 and had a 0.92 ERA. Alexander committed to play baseball at Mississippi State while he was in junior high.

But how fast is that fastball and how much curve goes into a curveball if a pair of defensive ends are running at him. Could he throw that for a strike?

“It’d be tough. I think I could,” Alexander said, after a pause.

Alexander (6-foot-1, 160) is Belmont’s starting quarterback as the Cardinals prepare to open the season Friday at Smithville. But he was a baseball player long before – since he was 4, he said – and didn’t pick football up until his seventh grade year.

He split time with Colin Harris last season, but only threw six passes. He did catch 13 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns and had 28 tackles and three interceptions from his defensive back spot.

He said he took some lessons from Harris, about leadership qualities and motivational abilities. His pitching past had already instilled that, but the football reins are now all his.

“It’s not really the same,” Alexander said. “I don’t know, tough question. It’s the same (in) you have an obligation, when you’re pitching to throw strikes and when you’re a quarterback to get your team down the field and score.”

Belmont went 6-4 last season and lost in the first round of the MHSAA Class 3A playoffs at McClain.

Alexander would be more OK with a 3-2 count and the bases loaded than with a 4th-and-3 at his own 20 – but like he did on the mound by the pitch, he’s getting more comfortable by the snap.

“I’m not as comfortable with football as I am baseball. I’m still getting comfortable,” Alexander said. “The other day I made a couple of mistakes. The coaches talked to me, it’s just going to be repetition at quarterback.”

brandon.speck@journalinc.com