Melvin Alaeze was an all-world defensive end recruit out of Randallstown, Maryland a few years ago. He had offers from literally every major school and put on an amazing performance in the US Army High School All America game. He was tall, powerful and fast. There simply wasn't a better physical prospect in the country.
He was destined for stardom. Unfortunately, he's a terribly messed up kid.
His latest boo-boo is one that probably ends whatever limited chance he had to get his life back together. You see, Alaeze is now facing several charges including attempted murder.
Alaeze has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, armed robbery, car theft and use of a hand gun in the commission of a violent crime, according to Baltimore County court records.Those charges will effectively slam the door on any kind of college career if he doesn't end up behind bars.Considering his great physical promise, this is a tragic end to a string of sad tales in his public life.
He was arrested Jan. 13 in connection with the Christmas Eve incident at an apartment complex. The charges against Alaeze carry sentences ranging from life for attempted murder to five years for auto theft.
After a much-hyped recruiting process, he signed with hometown Maryland. The move should've ensured a starting spot on the Terps' defensive line from day one but instead he could not produce the grades and test scores to pass the NCAA clearinghouse.
So he sat for a year, attempting to get qualified but during that time he got into more trouble.
Maryland rescinded his scholarship offer in June 2006, partly due to Alaeze's February 2006 arrest on five marijuana-related offenses. His enrollment at Maryland already had been delayed a year while he attempted to meet NCAA academic requirements.Poof! Out went that opportunity.
Then along came a second chance in a man named Ron Zook. Zook had been terminated by Florida but found footing at talent-deprived Illinois. Both Alaeze and Zook were men with a second chance, destined to meet in the sleepy and remote outpost of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.
Zook has shown promise, earning a few victories here and there and gradually luring some top talent to one of the nation's more depressed programs.
Sadly, Alaeze did little to turn himself around with a shot at redemption.
Alaeze was ruled eligible by the NCAA and played one game in September, but was suspended for the Iowa game for missing classes. On Oct. 1, he left citing "personal reasons."Poof again!
So out that chance went. And with this entry you now know the rest of this sad story. It's really too bad because he was about as physically dominant of a defensive end coming out of high school as I've seen in the last few years. He had an NFL body and went to two good schools but could never slay the personal demons and make something of the football and academic opportunities before him.
We've seen this story before and we'll see it again, I'm sure becoming quite immune to the sadness of it all. But this is Melvin's story, at least the public, football-related aspect of it.