The first Utah State player to go off the board in the NFL Draft was a surprise pick in defensive back Maurice Alexander who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Fellow defensive back Nevin Lawson was projected to be the first Aggie player to be drafted, but the Rams saw something in Alexander.
The back story on Alexander and why his pick to the Rams was a surprise -- or at least when he was drafted -- is because he was kicked off the Utah State team for the 2012 season for he punching teammate, running back Joey DeMartino, in the face at a party. The punch was so severe that he fractured DeMartino's check bone as well as breaking bones in his eye socket, and surgery was required to repair his face.
He was sentenced to a year of jail time initially but he plead to a lesser charge which reduced his jail time to just 45 days. While banished from the Utah State football program Alexander went home town St. Louis where we he took a job as a janitor at the Edward Jones Dome, home of the Rams.
During the year away from football he gained perspective and keep his dream alive of playing in the NFL someday:
"I always stood at the end of that field and I just looked at it. This could be my dream spot. Look where I'm at now."
"It made me a better man today. Utah State believed in me, they brought me back. I'm a great guy, I'm a great friend, I'm a great person to be around and I'm good in the locker room."
Alexander returned to Utah State where he started 13 games this last year as a starting defensive back. He was part of the Mountain West's best defense and helped out with an interception. six pass break ups and 79 tackles including an impressive nine for a loss.
This is a cool story to see a player who turned his life around after one very bad incident at a party, and also consider that Utah State changed head coaches during that time as Gary Andersen left for Wisconsin and Matt Wells was promoted within. With a coaching change Alexander could have been all but forgotten, but Wells and other coaches kept tabs on him and felt he did enough to earn not only a spot on the team but a starter to boot.