Each year the NFL draft gets a considerable boost in talent with underclassmen. The giving is especially good this year it seems at running back as the position that many feel has become the draft's strongest got yet another boost with a surprise early declaration from Wyoming running back Alvester Alexander.
Listed by Wyoming at 5-11, 208 pounds Alexander burst onto the scene as a true freshman for the Cowboys in 2009 leading the team with 640 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. A year later, Alexander enjoyed his most productive season, breaking the school's single season (14) and single game (five) records for most touchdown scored.
Alexander's production slipped as a junior. Though he ran for 695 yards and six touchdowns in 2011, the Wyoming offense was built around quarterback Brett Smith, who led the team with 710 rushing yards and 10 scores.
An upright runner with only average elusiveness and speed, Alexander may struggle with the jump in competition at the NFL level. He was rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 42 rated runnning back in the class of 2013. Considering the talent already assembled for the 2012 draft he may have an uphill fight to rank any higher this year.
Wyoming issued a statement on Alexander's behalf announcing the junior running back's decision but head coach Dave Christensen sounded less than thrilled with Alexander's move.
"“Alvester has decided that he wants to make himself eligible for the NFL Draft at this time,” said head coach Dave Christensen in a statement. “He feels that this decision is best for he and his family. It is his decision to make, and we can only wish him the best of luck as he pursues this next step in his career. We thank Alvester for his contributions over the past three seasons, including helping us to earn two bowl appearances.”
Local sports anchor Jack Nokes of K2TV.com also expressed some surprise with Alexander's decision.