Charles Alexander
refer to caption
Alexander with the Bengals in 1980
No. 40
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1957-07-28) July 28, 1957 (age 65)[1]
Galveston, Texas
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:224 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:Galveston (TX) Ball
NFL Draft:1979 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:2,645
Player stats at · PFR

Charles Fred Alexander Jr. (born July 28, 1957) is a former professional American football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. He played college football for Louisiana State University (LSU) and twice received consensus All-America honors, and he was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was a first-round pick in the 1979 NFL draft by the Bengals.

Early years

Alexander was born in Galveston, Texas. He played football at Ball High School,[1] where his role as a player was primarily as a blocking back. As a result, opportunities to show his ability were limited; he did not manage 1,000 yards in his entire prep career and was only recruited by a handful of colleges.[2]

College career

Alexander was recruited to LSU by running backs coach Jerry Stovall. He later recalled that Stovall offered him trust and a real chance to be a big-time running back. "As soon as I got here, I knew it was the place for me."[2] Alexander joined Hall of Fame coach Charles McClendon's LSU Tigers football team as a freshman in 1975. He played his first two seasons backing up All-SEC running back Terry Robiskie.[2] He rushed for 1,177 yards total in those two seasons, including 876 yards in his sophomore year.[2][3]

Alexander became the Tigers' starting running back in his junior season in 1977. Against Oregon, he scored four touchdowns and set a school record by rushing for 237 yards.[4] For his performance he was named United Press International Back of the Week.[5] His 1,686 rushing yards that season helped carry LSU to an 8–3 regular season record and a trip to the Sun Bowl.[6] In that game, Alexander set two Sun Bowl rushing records, carrying 31 times for 197 yards as he received Offensive Player of the Game honors. Despite Alexander's efforts—for which he was named to the 75th Anniversary All-Sun Bowl Team[7]—LSU fell to Stanford 24–14.[6]

Alexander's workload dropped in his senior season in 1978, as the Tigers' offense became more balanced with fellow future LSU Athletic Hall of Famer David Woodley at quarterback. He and Woodley led the team to another 8–3 record. Toward the end of the season, Alexander was drawing comparisons to NFL running back Earl Campbell due to his "unique, slashing running style."[5] He played his last game as a Tiger in the 1978 Liberty Bowl, in which he rushed for 133 yards on 24 carries in a 20–15 loss to Missouri.[6]

His accomplishments in an LSU uniform led fans to refer to him affectionately as "Alexander the Great."[8][4] In each of his final two seasons with the Tigers, Alexander was selected as a consensus All-American and earned All-SEC honors. The 1977 campaign also saw Alexander selected as the SEC Most Valuable Player by the Nashville Banner. During his college career Alexander set nine SEC records, tied another and set 27 LSU records. He finished his LSU career with 4,035 rushing yards—over 1,500 yards more than the Tigers' previous career rushing yards leader.[9] His 1,686 rushing yards total and 153.3 yards per game in the 1977 season stood as LSU single-season records until the 2015 season, when both were surpassed by Leonard Fournette.[10][11]

College statistics

Led the SEC
SEC record
Led the NCAA
NCAA Record
Bold Career high
College rushing & receiving statistics* [12]
Season School Games Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD
Team Rushing Receiving
1975 LSU 11 108 301 2.8 2 1 6 6.0 0
1976 LSU 11 155 876 5.7 7 8 82 10.3 0
1977 LSU 11 311 1,686 5.4 17 12 80 6.7 0
1978 LSU 11 281 1,172 4.2 14 28 263 9.4 2
Career LSU 44 855 4,035 4.7 40 49 431 8.8 2

* Includes bowl games.

Professional career

Alexander was selected 12th overall in the first round of the 1979 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.[13] He spent the majority of his professional career backing up Pro Bowl running back Pete Johnson, while also splitting carries with former Heisman winner Archie Griffin. His most productive season came in 1980, during which he played in all 16 regular season games and carried the ball 169 times for 702 yards.[14]

He played a prominent role during the Bengals' run in the 1981 playoffs. In their divisional round win against the Buffalo Bills, Alexander rushed for 72 yards and scored two touchdowns. He is one of four Bengals players to score multiple touchdowns from scrimmage in a single postseason game, as well as the first to do so.[15] He rushed for 22 yards and caught three passes for 25 yards in the Bengals' win over San Diego in the infamous "Freezer Bowl."[16] "Everything on the sidelines froze: the players, the water, the Gatorade, everything," said Alexander about the game conditions.[2] In Super Bowl XVI, he carried five times for 17 yards while catching two passes for three yards in the Bengals' loss to the 49ers.[17]

Alexander finished his career with 2,645 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, while adding 165 receptions for 1,130 yards and two touchdowns.[18]

Later life

After retiring from the NFL, Alexander went into the oil and gas business.[19] He also briefly served as assistant director of LSU's Tiger Athletic Foundation.[2] In 1989, Alexander was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame.[2] In 2011, he founded Charlie 4 Strong Seasoning, Inc., which markets C'mon Man Cajun seasoning and fish fry.[19] In 2012, he became the eighth former LSU football player inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.[20]


  1. ^ a b "Charles Alexander". College Football Hall of Fame. Football Foundation. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Mickles, Sheldon. "Charles Alexander Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction". Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  3. ^ Aschoff, Edward (15 May 2012). "Entering the Hall: Charles Alexander". Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b "They're Calling Him Alexander The Great". Ocala Star-Banner. Associated Press. October 27, 1977. p. 5B. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Alexander Compared To Earl Campbell". Herald-Journal. December 23, 1978. p. 15. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Vincent, Herb (2008). LSU Football Vault: The History of the Fighting Tigers. Whitman Publishing, LLC. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-0794824280.
  7. ^ "75th Anniversary All-Sun Bowl Team" (PDF). Geological Society of America Bulletin. 74 (5): 1. 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  8. ^ Vincent, Herb. "Alexander Named to College Football Hall of Fame". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  9. ^ Rabalais, Scott (2008). The Fighting Tigers, 1993–2008: Into a New Century of LSU Football. LSU Press. pp. 178–179. ISBN 9780807133705.
  10. ^ Kleinpeter, Jim. "Leonard Fournette sets LSU season rushing record". Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  11. ^ Higgins, Ron. "LSU's Leonard Fournette puts exclamation point on record-setting season". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Charles Alexander college statistics". College Football at Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  13. ^ "History: Full Draft". Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Charles Alexander NFL stats". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Bengals Postseason Individual Records" (PDF). Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  16. ^ Beall, Joel. "Remembering the Freezer Bowl Warmly". Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Charles Alexander: Game Logs". Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  18. ^ Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. New York: HarperCollins. 1999. p. 553. ISBN 9780062701749.
  19. ^ a b Higgins, Ron. "Leonard Fournette could be better than Alexander the Great? C'mon Man!". Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  20. ^ LSU Sports Information Office. "LSU Football 2015 Official Media Guide" (PDF). LSU Publications Office. p. 206. Retrieved 31 December 2015.