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The Alaeze Files

For those - like me - wondering where former Maryland recruit Melvin Alaeze would wind up, there is an answer. The one-time Baltimore-area standout defensive lineman has enrolled at Illinois and will be eligible to play this season, according to an Illinois spokesperson.

Coming out of Randallstown High, Alaeze signed with Maryland but failed to meet NCAA academic eligibility standards and spent last season at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. He signed a second letter-of-intent to play for the Terrapins, but the school withdrew its scholarship offer in June for violating the terms of the financial aid agreement.

In February, Alaeze was charged was possession with intent to distribute marijuana, but three of the five counts he faced were dropped and two other were moved to an inactive docket. If Alaeze remains out of trouble, those charges - for possession of marijuana and drug paraphenelia -- also will be dropped.

While in June it was believed Alaeze had yet to meet the NCAA's academic standards to be eligible to play as a freshman, the Illinois spokesperson said Alaeze has been cleared to play.

It makes sense for Illinois to recruit Alaeze. One-time Maryland recruiting coordinator Mike Locksley is the Illini's offensive coordinator and he remains very popular in Washington-area circles; Illinois has seven other players from Maryland and the District.

"He's zero tolerance," Illinois Coach Ron Zook told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "But I felt good talking to him about it. We've all made mistakes. He'll be the first to tell you he screwed up. But he's very grateful for a second chance. We checked him out thoroughly."

Exactly what Alaeze thinks of everything is unclear; Zook has a policy prohibiting freshmen from doing media interviews before they play in a game.

By Josh Barr  | August 7, 2006; 3:57 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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