Last season, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers were the talk of the college football nation, as they went 11-1 for the season and finished 14th in the AP poll.
A big reason for their success was their defense, which allowed only 243 points against last season. A player who contributed heavily to their success was standout safety, Alex Spillum. Last season, Spillum set career highs in interceptions, total tackles, and passes defended. Though he is not a player known to many, Spillum is an ascending talent, looking to capitalize on his success from last season. At 6'2, he has the physical tool and the right mindset to become one of the top players at his position.
Last season was a breakout year for your program, as Coastal Carolina gained national attention. What are your personal goals for this upcoming season, and what would you like to see your team achieve in 2021?
AS: We had a losing record at coastal since I got here in 2017 , so yes it absolutely was a breakout year for us. Having most of our games on National TV was great for our school and me personally because it allowed my family and friends in Minnesota to watch all the games. The team goal is to go undefeated, win another Sun Belt title, and play in a NY6 bowl game. My personal goal is to put myself in a good position to get my chance at the NFL.
You set career highs in interceptions and passes defended in 2020. What was your key to success last season, and how are you preparing to take that next step?
AS: I feel much more comfortable out there on the field after having playing experience. I worked really hard in the off-season. Last summer, I did a lot of footwork drills in the sand; I believe it helped me get out of my breaks quicker. To take the next step, I’m going to continue to get bigger, faster, stronger, work on my craft, and the mental side of the game.
I read that you played both quarterback and safety in high school. Why did you ultimately choose to devote yourself to playing safety?
AS: I really enjoyed playing QB in high school. I made the switch because Coastal was my first and only FBS offer and they recruited me to play DB. I like the pressure that goes with playing DB, one mistake can lose a game so you always have to be locked in and have laser focus. I think playing DB will ultimately give me the best chance at the next level.
In terms of versatility, which positions are you capable of playing?
AS: I can play anywhere in the secondary. I’ve recently spoken to my coach about getting some reps at slot receiver as well. I think I could be a weapon at that spot. I'm also thinking I’ll go for the punt return job. I currently Long Jump for our track and field team. I’m very explosive and I want every opportunity I can get to show it.
You are quite accomplished academically. How are able to maintain such a high academic standard, while fulfilling your obligations to your team?
AS: It’s not hard because I value education as much as I value being an athlete. I take pride in having a "good head on my shoulders" and I know education/learning is a lifelong journey that will continue long after college.
Why do you believe you should be considered among the top defensive backs in college football?
AS: I believe so. I made big and clutch plays in every game this season. I’m fast, I make tackles, I create turnovers, and I don’t bust coverages. I think when people watch my tape they will be impressed with my athletic ability and fearlessness.
Have you thought about the NFL, and if so, what position or position would you like to play at the next level?
I think about the NFL all the time. It doesn’t matter to me what position I play. Even if it’s just special teams. It’s my dream and I love playing football so I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.
Alex Spillum Highlights: