Ellis Alexander almost went to N.C. State to play linebacker. But he'd always wanted to go to Carolina, and when he was awarded the prestigious Morehead Scholarship in 1970, he chose Chapel Hill.
“I decided to walk-on to the football team since I hadn't been recruited,” he said. “I played linebacker on the freshman team, but after that I felt I could help the team more as a kicker than as a second- or third-team linebacker, so I decided to concentrate solely on kicking.”
Alexander went on to kick his way into the record books and enjoy a three-year career as a Letterman from 1972-74.
The Salisbury native died Sunday May 7 at the age of 65 in his home of Norcross, Ga. A gathering of family and friends will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the clubhouse in the community when Ellis and his wife Nancy lived. The address is 6151 Neely Farm Drive, Norcross, Ga. Brother Jake says a service of some kind might be held later in Salisbury.
Alexander won the place-kicking job, replacing Ken Craven, in 1972 in part by hitting a 60-yarder in preseason camp. He hit a 53-yard field goal against N.C. State during his junior year. That is tied for fifth-longest in school history.
“I feel I can kick up to 55 yards but I was still surprised when the coaches decided to go for the field goal,” he said. “I had kicked one 50 yards earlier against William & Mary but it was short, and I never kicked on farther than that in a game.”
For his career, Alexander hit 18-of-44 field goals and 94-of-99 extra points.