Maurice Alexander is more than just hungry.
Utah State’s senior safety is back with the Aggies after missing the 2012 campaign, and he’s ready to make an immediate impact.
“I’m starving. I’m starving to get out there, I’m starving to make plays,” Alexander said early Tuesday morning, following USU’s first spring practice. “I want to make every play. I’m greedy right now.”
Alexander is back with USU after being dismissed from the team following the 2011 season.
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound native of St. Louis was involved in an altercation with a teammate in February of 2012. Alexander punched his teammate in the eye, causing considerable damage that required emergency surgery.
Alexander pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated assault resulting in bodily injury, which is a class A misdemeanor.
“Maurice paid a heavy price for his actions,” first-year USU head coach Matt Wells said. “For every action, there’s a consequence — either good or bad — and Maurice has done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s been a great teammate since he’s back and I’m happy for him to have a second chance and we welcome him back with open arms.”
Not everyone gets a second chance, but USU felt Alexander deserved one.
“In Maurice’s situation, he did everything from the legal standpoint and from the university standpoint, and internally, what we asked him to do,” Wells said. “He fulfilled all those obligations and we’ve allowed him back in.”
To which, Alexander is very grateful for.
“It’s a blessing,” Alexander said. “Not everyone gets this type of opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for me, so I’m going to take advantage of it.”
Wells has noticed a significant change — for the better — in Alexander.
“When something of value and of importance — in that I mean an education and a chance to play Division I football — is taken away from you, I think you value life and you cherish life a little bit better every day,” Wells said. “That’s what I’ve seen out of him.”
During the 2011 season with the Aggies, Alexander ranked seventh on the team with 45 tackles as a starting outside linebacker. He also recorded 3.0 sacks.
USU is expecting big things from Alexander as a senior in 2013.
“He’ll be an impact player because he’s going to come in and play,” Wells said. “It’s up to us to find the best position for him and to mold the things that we do around him and his talents. He’s an aggressive player, he’s an explosive player, he’s got a good body, he’s strong, he’s physical and he enjoys playing the game.”
That is evident as he was all smiles following Tuesday’s spring opener.
“It felt so good to be back with the team, your family,” Alexander said. “It’s a real good experience and it feels real good to be back.”
Alexander is no longer playing linebacker, though. He is currently listed as the starting free safety on the spring depth chart. Frankie Sutera and Devin Centers are listed as his backups.
“Maurice is a hybrid between a safety and an outside linebacker,” Wells said. “With McKade (Brady’s) graduation, we wanted to try him back there and he looked good today.”
Playing on the back end of the Aggies’ defense suits Alexander just fine.
“I like safety, you can see the field more,” Alexander said. “It’s a better opportunity to make plays and help the team out. It’s a good fit for me.”
Prior to USU, Alexander was a two-time first-team all-Western States Football League (WSFL) and first-team all-Region I selection at Arizona Western College (Yuma, Ariz).
Alexander helped the Matadors capture consecutive WSFL championships, including a 10-2 record in 2010. He finished his two-year career at Arizona Western with 179 tackles, 15 sacks and four interceptions.