The Rams promoted wide receiver Danario Alexander, a local talent and undrafted college free agent from the University of Missouri, from the practice squad to the active roster last Tuesday. He made his presence felt in his debut this past weekend against the San Diego Chargers.
In order to be activated onto the active game day roster of forty-five, he had to earn a spot on special teams, and he did, starting on the punt return team as well PAT/FG block. A reserve at wide receiver, he was given an opportunity and displayed his vertical receiving skills with a 4 reception, 72 yard performance and one touchdown.
Let me give you some background on this young man from the Lone Star state of Texas. A native of Marlin Texas (population is 5,780; located in the heart of Texas), he attended Marlin High School. He was a three sport letter winner. He played football, earning All-State honorable mention and All-District first-team honors as a senior. His production was good (49 receptions, 850 yards and 9 touchdowns). As a junior he earned All-District honorable mention. Danario was named to the All-District first-team in baseball. An athlete that displayed explosive skills in track, a district champion in the long jump (best of 23’10”) and triple jump (best of 45’10”) in 2005.
The tall thin and undeveloped athlete from the heart of Texas, signed with Missouri, and worked hard to put his mark on the Big 12 conference teams that passed on him. As a true freshman at Missouri in 2006, he saw reserve action with limited production his freshmen season (finishing with a 16.7 yards per catch average with 251 total yards).
Danario’s injury history is well documented, and really slowed his development as a football player. In the 2007 season he fractured his left wrist and missed the next three games. In late September of the same year he tore the left ACL (anterior curiae ligament). As he was recovering from reconstructive surgery, it took a turn for the worse when the repaired ACL, detached during spring football of 2008 and he had to go under the knife a second time. An animal in his rehab, he returned for the 2008 regular season, only missing a few games. He was not a 100%, but he displayed the toughness and the desire to be a part of the program. He underwent a third surgery in 2009 during the off season, a cleanup or cartilage debridement.
Thanks to several surgeries (including extensive work on his left knee and wrist); Danario only started three games during his first three seasons as a Tiger. He was held out of 2008 and 2009 preseason drills. Coaches, fans and family questioned if the vertical receiver would play his senior season. In his final season, despite wearing a thick and clumsy brace, Danario established himself as one of the top receivers in Missouri football history. His production was very good, replacing Jeremy Maclin (drafted by Philadelphia Eagles). His career to that point was 78 receptions for 997 yards and eight touchdowns. As a senior he set school season-record with 113 receptions for 1,781 yards and 14 touchdowns. He seized the moment and finally put his mark on Missouri and the fans in the ZOO.
For a player that has gone through so much, his passion and love for the game shined through. Danario received Walter Camp and Associated Press All-American second-team honors. He compiled a school record 113 receptions and became the fourth player in school history to generate over 1,000 receiving yards (1,781) in a season. His average of 137.0 yards per game was the best in the NCAA. He only started 16-of-48 games at Missouri, catching 191 passes for 2,778 yards (14.54 ypc) and 22 touchdowns.
The six-foot 223 pound receiver has good length, soft hands is a vertical threat and has earned the nickname of DX. He has the skill set to develop into a good receiver in the NFL. As we live in the show me state, DX delivered on Sunday and gave the Rams organization, fans and the NFC West something to think about. I’m cheering for this young man whom I thought would sit out this season, learn the offense, get stronger and knock them out in 2011. His big play was the difference in the upset victory over the San Diego Chargers.