The College Park Report
Melvin Alaeze, the former Randallstown star, has gone from the top player in the state of Maryland and the best defensive end in the country to facing charges of armed robbery and attempted murder. To understand where he is now you have to understand what happened over the last two years.
Next Wednesday is National Signing Day where high school seniors sign their name on a line and commit to a program. Two years ago, Melvin Alaeze held up his verbal commitment to Ralph Friedgen and the University of Maryland and officially committed to the Terps. Since then, it has been a downhill spiral that culminated in his arrest for his alleged participation in a burglary in late December.
Alaeze failed to qualify academically for the 2005 season and spent the year dominating the competition at Hargrave Military Academy. After the season there were questions about whether Alaeze, who became the #2 overall prospect in the 2006 recruiting class, would hold up his commitment to Maryland. Coach Friedgen stuck by him throughout his senior year and Alaeze decided to do the same, signing up to play for the Terps in the 2006 season.
In February of 2006, Alaeze was charged with intent to distribute marijuana, but those three charges were dropped and Alaeze had two pending charges. Those two, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, would be dropped if he displayed good behavior.
Then in June Alaeze and his family got news they never expected: Due to violating terms of his financial aid, Melvin Alaeze would be released of his scholarship at Maryland and was free to sign anywhere. Ron Zook and Illinois jumped on the opportunity to sign such a talented prospect when no one else would give him another chance. Two weeks into his new life at the University of Illinois, he was suspended from the team for missing classes. On October 1 his scholarship was revoked.
Then, allegedly, on Dec. 24, Alaeze and a accomplice grabbed a man and took him in to an abandoned apartment. The two, allegedly, made off with $400, the man’s shoes, two cell phones, the man’s keys and his 1998 Buick. The two then, allegedly, shot the man in the back of the head. When the man tried to get up, he was shot two more times, once right around his left eye and once in the back and then left for dead.
The man was taken to the hospital and on Jan. 13 and Alaeze was arrested and charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault, armed robbery, car theft and use of a handgun in commission with a violent crime, according to Baltimore County court records. He could be facing a life-sentence with the attempted murder charge and will be in court Feb. 9 in Towson, Md.
The fall of Melvin Alaeze is very shocking and we will keep you updated on his status.
In other Football news: The Terps recently got two more commitments, OT Maurice Hampton (Phoebus HS in Hampton, Va.) and DT Dion Armstrong (Peach County HS in Fort Valley, Ga.). The top players still considering Maryland include DT Marvin Austin (Ballou HS), MLB Pat Lazear (Wheaton HS), TE Devonte Campbell (Forestville HS) and RB Darius Kinney (Bayley Ellard HS in Madison, NJ). Perhaps the biggest news of the past week was the Transfer of USC safety Antwine Perez. Perez will have to sit out the 2007 season, but in 2006 he was the #3 safety in the country and #11 overall by Scouts, Inc. The Terps should expect a great battle at the safety position in 2008, as Perez will join the top recruit from this year, S Dominique Herald, and the top recruit from last year, S Pha’Terrell Washington.
In a must-win game Tuesday night, the Terps came out flat against Florida State. The loss drops the Terps to 2-5 in the ACC, and now Maryland travels to ACC bottom-feeder Wake Forest on Saturday. The Terps then welcome Virginia to the Comcast Center to get some payback.
Maryland figures they need to go 6-3 in the rest of the conference games to be comfortably in the NCAA tournament, even then that will only get them to 8-8. They still have to face Duke and Clemson on the road, but still have to play Duke, UNC and Florida State at home. There are no “gimmes” on the schedule and Maryland has to pick up their play if they have any hopes of making the tournament.
Ultimately, I think the Terps will end up going 7-2 down the stretch with the losses coming at Duke and at home against UNC. That will get Maryland to 9-7 in conference and probably the fifth or sixth seed in the ACC tournament. However, if the play resembles Tuesday night, the Terps could end up going 2-7 down the stretch.
Sunday night was another disappointing performance against top competition by the Lady Terps, as they lost 84-71 at home against No. 2 UNC. The Lady Terps won’t get a chance for redemption in the regular season, but they have a few warm-ups before Feb. 18 when they welcome No. 1 Duke to the Comcast Center.
That’s all for this week. Check back next week as I’ll go through the new recruits headed to College Park and see who we might see on the field in 2007. Also, check out St. John’s vs. DeMatha as they face off Friday Night. Oh, and that little thing on Sunday called the Super Bowl, that should be fun.
Do you have a comment or question? Send an e-mail to Brendan Darr, our College Park Reporter.