In terms of recruiting, Alex Figueroa was the proverbial diamond in the rough. Major colleges invest so much time, money and effort in finding the best players in the country, it is always a shock when someone as good as Figueroa flies under the radar.
Figueroa played high school football for Brook Pointe in Virginia. Academic issues required him to enroll at Fork Union Military Academy. Figueroa made the most of his year there. He grew an inch and added 20 pounds. He also went from unrated by the major recruiting services to earning a consensus three-star rating.
Still, Figueroa’s scholarship offers were few and far between. A few schools such as Maryland, Rutgers, Temple and West Virginia expressed interest, but none offered. Then the Miami Hurricanes came along. Figueroa committed immediately, and just as quickly, fans began to ask about this no-name recruit.
Fans know now. By the end of his first spring practice, he was atop the depth chart at outside linebacker. He never relinquished his hold. He possesses not just great size, but incredible strength which allows him to easily take on blocks from even the largest linemen. He is arguably the fastest outside linebacker on the Canes team. That is saying a lot for a defense chock full of quality athletes.
Furthermore, Figueroa has shown impressive maturity for a kid his age. He has picked up the defensive calls with ease and plays with the confidence of a fifth-year senior.
Very few freshmen make as dramatic an impact as Figueroa has made in just a few months with the team. As he lifts, runs and watches film in the offseason, he will only get better.
For ACC opponents, that is a scary thought.