GLENDALE – Alexander Doost has the body and strength of a prototypical offensive lineman. A top-100 recruit in the country who has committed to Northwestern, the 6-foot-6, 295 Mountain Ridge High School offensive tackle towers over his teammates.
And Doost’s imposing physique is hardened by hard work in the Mountain Lions’ weight room, where he recently set personal bests during his final summer workout in the squat, power clean and bench press.
But Doost does have one soft spot. It’s for his mom.
Doost has pinned a tweet on his Twitter page from his commitment to Northwestern, thanking his mother, Siboné Xochihua-Doost, who passed away in April 2021. He wears a bracelet with her name engraved on the outside and “Remember My Beautiful Mom” etched inside. He often tags social media posts with #T1FM – “This 1 is For Mom.”
“It was a problem with her heart,” Doost said. “She always had problems with blood pressure, so she knew it was going to happen.”
He recalls hearing his mother shouting at him from the stands, “Get your blocks!”
“She was very loud,” he said.
That voice still echoes in everything Doost does, on and off the field.
“I think I’ve moved past the motivation part,” Doost said. “It’s more my mom would be proud to see what I’m doing right now.”
Shortly before his mom passed, Arizona State offered Doost his first Power Five scholarship. Another 17 would follow before he settled on Northwestern after visiting the school’s Evanston, Illinois, campus with his father.
While his mom wasn’t present for the rest of those scholarship offers, Doost already knew the pride that she had in him because of the ASU offer.
“That was like the happiest I’d ever seen her,” he said. “And then she passed a week later. So I’m happy I got to make her proud, or smile, before it happened.”
His mother’s insistence that he get off of the couch at an early age helped spark Doost’s work ethic, and he still follows her example.
“She wouldn’t want me to sit on my ass, so I try to do a lot when I can,” he said. “She did a lot to prevent (her death). She lost weight and she worked out a lot.’
Now, he’s trying to set the example for his teammates at Mountain Ridge. It’s a quiet leadership style.
After setting his personal record by squatting 600-pounds with relative ease, Doost racked the sagging barbell, turned to teammate Christian Aguilar and asked, “Was that low enough?”
Doost remained low-key throughout his workout, only asking his teammates for a spot when he lifted, or for feedback about his technique.
“I feel like having all those eyes (on me) is like a responsibility to me, because if I was just sitting down, then I’d be letting down the people who look up to me,” he said.
He rarely has a chance to sit around these days. The big tackle started practice at 7 a.m., and after an hour-long practice, the Mountain Ridge players completed their final lifting session before heading off to camp. Then Doost works as a busboy at a local restaurant.
“I’m tired,” he said.
Soon, he will be focused on his senior season and preparing to play for Northwestern, which Doost determined offered the best combination of football and academics for him. He was sold after his campus visit with his father.
“A couple of the commits there wanted to eat lunch with me,” Doost said. “So I told my dad, ‘I’m going to go. Are you going to be okay?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll just be on my phone.’
“I turned around and like three coaches are sitting by my dad eating with him.”
Doost made quick connections to the program, which has received three commitments from Arizona high school players in the 2023 recruiting class, and with Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald.
Doost believes there are some similarities between the atmosphere at Mountain Ridge and what he experienced during his visit to Northwestern.
“I like being able to inspire my teammates, make them want to push more, seeing them watch me in awe doing that squat,” Doost said. “That makes me feel good. I feel like at (Northwestern), that’s how they treated me.”
It’s something that doesn’t surprise Mountain Ridge coach Doug Madoski.
“I told every coach who asked me, ‘What’s the secret to landing this kid? You got to have a relationship with him.’” Madoski said. “He’s a relationship kid.”
Those relationships at Mountain Ridge helped Doost understand his own potential and work even harder.
During his time there, Madoski said he has gone from just blending in during meetings and on the field to honing his skill sets and leading by example.
“I think for him, he sees that, ‘These eyes are on me,’” Madoski said. “He wants to inspire other people (and say) that, ‘When I walked into Mountain Ridge High School, I was just like you. I might have been a little bit taller, a little bit heavier, whatever, but I was just like you. I worked really hard and because I work so hard, I’ve got these opportunities.’
“He’s that guy that wants to lead in a positive manner and bring people to the good side, so to speak, rather than fall into bad habits and do things that are going to negatively impact them.”
As a sophomore, Doost lined up as an offensive tackle with eight other players from his high school class. But during Doost’s junior year, Madoski and Mountain Ridge offensive coordinator Tommy Ziegler moved him to guard to put him in a comfortable position rather than rush him.
“He wasn’t nearly what he is today,” Ziegler said. “He didn’t have the experience. He didn’t have the confidence in himself. His feet and technique we were teaching him was all brand new. Moving him to guard, we were able to protect him a little bit and build up his confidence.”
Doost entered his senior season with the intention to move back to tackle, his preferred position. But Madoski and his staff made him earn the job.
Before spring football, everyone believed Doost would start at offensive tackle after committing to the weight room and being the most sought after athlete on the team. Ziegler and Madoski wanted to challenge him, though.
Ziegler told Doost he was going to play guard as a test.
“Two practices in, he comes over to me and says, ‘Coach, I’m ready to play tackle,’” Ziegler said. “I let him make the decision. He’s just so much more deliberate in everything he was doing. There was no indecisiveness…”
Once high school ball is over, Doost will leave Arizona’s warmth for the big chill of Big Ten territory. Madoski believes he’ll make the adjustment to the weather and Big Ten football.
“I think that he is better prepared for that than a lot of guys will be,” he said. “I think that just him working through some of that same process here at Ridge, it’s put him in a position where he has the blueprint now to be able to do it at Northwestern.”
Coming off of a 2021 state playoff season, Mountain Ridge is preparing for the 6A Desert Valley Region race with a heavy-hitting senior class. Doost is back at tackle, playing his final high school season and preparing to move on to the Big Ten with added confidence – and the rather loud voice of an angel in his ear.
“When I go (to Northwestern) she’s still going to be my biggest influence, my No. 1 fan,” Doost said.