Alex Scearce was a wide receiver and running back in high school, and played safety for the better part of his first two seasons at Coastal Carolina.
He was moved to linebacker during his sophomore year, and adjusted quickly enough to lead the Chanticleers in tackles as a junior and earn All-Big South Conference Second Team honors.
His learning curve seemingly increased to warp speed this past season as a senior in new defensive coordinator Mickey Matthews’ defense.
After being one of the most productive linebackers in the nation, Scearce has been voted an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision First Team All-American by the Associated Press.
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“It’s an awesome jump going from last year a second team all-conference,” Scearce said. “I think where I am this year is part of our new defensive coordinator, what he brought to the table, and the great coaching by my position coach, Ryan Goodman, who helped me learn the position and play faster and react faster, which helped out a lot.”
It’s an awesome jump going from last year a second team all-conference. I think where I am this year is part of our new defensive coordinator, what he brought to the table, and the great coaching by my position coach, Ryan Goodman, who helped me learn the position and play faster and react faster, which helped out a lot.
CCU senior linebacker Alex Scearce
The Huntersville, N.C., resident was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented annually to the top defensive player in the FCS, and finished sixth in the voting and second among the linebackers nominated.
Scearce becomes just the fourth Chant to earn First Team AP All-America honors, joining former NFL quarterback Tyler Thigpen, current NFL cornerback Josh Norman and three-time Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Year Quinn Backus. Scearce is the 11th CCU player to earn any level of All-America status by the AP.
Scearce led CCU in tackles (84) for a second consecutive year, set a CCU season record with eight sacks, and also led the team with 13.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries while ranking second with seven pass break-ups.
Scearce, who is 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, was the only player in the FCS with at least 70 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, five sacks and five interceptions in 2016.
Coastal scored seven defensive touchdowns this season, which was second in Division I behind Alabama’s 10, and Scearce was largely responsible for five with two interceptions returned for touchdowns, a fumble recovery for a TD, and two forced fumbles that were recovered for scores.
Scearce is on pace to graduate in May with a degree in Criminology and minor in Intelligence and National Security, so he’ll continue to train with the football staff in preparation for CCU’s Pro Day on March 31 when scouts from some NFL teams are expected to be in attendance.
He’d like to play in the NFL, but said he’d be open to playing in another pro league including the Canadian Football League.
I’m hoping after the year I’ve had and the stuff I know I can do, hopefully a team gives me a shot and I’ll shot them what I can do.
“I’m hoping after the year I’ve had and the stuff I know I can do, hopefully a team gives me a shot and I’ll shot them what I can do,” Scearce said.
Scearce believes he’s suited to play outside linebacker, and said he’ll continue to work with defensive backs to maintain quickness. “If they evaluate me I’ll play whatever position they want me to play,” he said.