ANTIOCH, Tenn. - As a three-star prospect coming out of Antioch (Tenn.) High School in 2008, Michael McAdoo was considered by many - if not most - as a project. He had great size at 6-foot-7 but he was very raw as both a tight end and as a defensive end. Now McAdoo is poised to start at defensive end at North Carolina as a part of one of the top defensive lines in the nation.
Almost three years later, Antioch is home to another defender that is considered a project but whose upside could be just as high. Alexandro Antoine plays defensive end for Antioch at 6-2 and 220 pounds. Undersized at defensive end but a prototype at outside linebacker, Antoine has the confidence of his high school coach and the attention of colleges.
"He's the same caliber player as those other guys that I've coach," said Antioch head coach Mike Woodward. "The only thing that separates him from Michael McAdoo or even Jeremy Buchanan before him is he's not 6-4. But what separates him is that he can play with his hand down or he has the athleticism to stand up."
At Antioch, Antoine is a rusher but coming from a coach that has had SEC talent walk through his halls, Antoine has the ability to play the linebacker position on SEC Saturdays.
"Physically, he can play it," he said. "We don't play him in coverage at all so the only thing he'd have to work on is dropping in coverage because he doesn't play it every down but he's athletic enough."
That athleticism has been highlighted most this spring with some very strong camp performances. Most notably at a local combine, Antoine jumped 42 inches in the vertical, ran a 4.52 hand-timed 40 and had a 10-8 standing broad jump. Combine that with a 6-2/230-pound body and Antoine has proven that he has the ability.
This spring, Antoine received visits from Kentucky and Tennessee and he has plans to camp at Tennessee, Auburn and Duke. While his first offer is in from Middle Tennessee State, Antoine is hoping that more SEC interest follows. He is anxious to prove that he is worthy.
"Schools project me as a linebacker but they say that they'll rush me on rush downs," Antoine said. "I just need to show that I can drop. That's what got MTSU to offer. They came to a seven-on-seven and saw that I can drop in coverage."
While SEC is his favorite conference, Antoine really doesn't have a favorite school. He hasn't spent his whole life in Tennessee but he has been exposed to the SEC enough to know it's where he wants to play football.
"I didn't really grow up rooting for any one school," he said. "I moved to Tennessee six or seven years ago from Florida. I lived in Orlando and moved there from Haiti when I was five. I'd prefer to play in the SEC but any Division-I scholarship offer is great with me."
Also a tight end at the high school level, Antoine has big hands, a great linebacker body and terrific athleticism. As he continues to get looks from college coaches, more college opportunities are likely in his future.
Currently, Antoine is rated as the No. 20 player in the state of Tennessee and a three-star prospect.