FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jets defensive lineman Justin Alexandre got a taste of a lifelong dream last Thursday when the Elmont native and undrafted rookie saw action against the Giants in the first preseason game of his career.
“It’s amazing,” the Sewanhaka High School product told Newsday after Tuesday’s practice. “It was exactly what I dreamed of it being. The lights, camera, family. Just a great experience.”
Alexandre, 21, grew up a Gang Green fan in a family full of Jets fans and season ticket-holders who were in attendance at MetLife Stadium for his preseason debut. Alexandre is one of three Long Islanders trying to make the roster of a local NFL team. Babylon's Jake Carlock stole the show with a pick-six for the Giants in the third quarter of their 31-22 win over the Jets, and Seaford's James O'Hagan, a center, also got in the game with the Giants' third-string offense.
Alexandre, listed at 6-5, 256 pounds, began his college career at ASA College, a JUCO program in Brooklyn, before transferring to Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, in 2017. He recorded 11 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in 22 games over two seasons with the Cardinals and was named to the 2018 Southland All-Conference first team in his senior season.
“Alexandre’s been coming along well,” Jets defensive line coach Andre Carter said after Tuesday’s practice. “Sometimes, especially with younger guys, they’re stuck in a mold of being stuck in the dynamics of what their former coaches taught them. And we understand that, we get that.”
Carter said they’ve put an emphasis on individual drills and that the young players on his unit have taken the extra time to watch film one-on-one.
In addtion to Alexandre, Carter’s defensive line unit has four other rookies on it, including one of the most talked about players at camp: No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams. Trevon Sanders, MyQuon Stout and Kyle Phillips are the other rookies.
“They’ve been pros. They’ve been very mature. A lot more mature probably perhaps than I was when I was a rookie,” said Carter, who spent 13 seasons in the NFL after being taken seventh overall by the 49ers in the 2001 draft. “They’re ahead of the game as far as taking accountability for becoming a better player.”
Alexandre will look to continue getting better in his second preseason game Thursday night against the Falcons in Atlanta.
“Just going in, making plays,” Alexandre said of what he hopes to accomplish Thursday. “Doing what I can do best to help the team and just impress the coaches.”