Today is a great day to celebrate a Happy Birthday anniversary for Michigan Man Derrick Alexander. Derrick Scott Alexander was born on this day in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up in Detroit and became a star athlete at Detroit Benedictine High School. When it was time to think about college, Michigan was the place where he wanted to continue his academics and his football.
Derrick Alexander was recruited by Bo Schembechler and he was on Bo’s last roster in 1989. He didn’t earn any starts in his freshman year, but Derrick played enough to earn his first varsity letter. Alexander caught 6 passes for 107 yards which worked out to an “attention getting” average of 17.8 yards per catch. Derrick was fortunate to be on a Big Ten Championship team that posted an overall record of 10 wins and 2 losses. Yes, his Michigan Football career was off to a solid start.
Alexander was back in 1990, but Bo was gone. He would have to impress Coach Gary Moeller if he wanted to start for Michigan. Derrick just kept working hard in practice and finished the season with 11 starts. He caught 31 passes for 450 yards and 6 touchdowns. Alexander also showed some potential on special teams as a kickoff returner. Of course, he earned another letter and his second championship ring. The Wolverines slipped to an overall record of 9 wins and 3 losses, but won a share of the Big Ten title for the third straight season.
Expectations were high for Derrick and his teammates in 1991. Michigan went into their first game of the season as the #2 ranked team in the country. The good news was that he grabbed 3 passes for 59 yards and Michigan won big at Boston College (35-13). Unfortunately, the bad news was that he tore a ligament and was out for the rest of the season.
As it turned out, Michigan did fine without Derrick, but I think they could have done better with him playing a full season. The Wolverines finished at 10-2-0 and won another Big Ten Championship, but Derrick could have made a difference in the games they lost. Of course, a guy named Desmond Howard had to step up to fill the void left by Alexander and he did a great job. Yes, Howard’s Heisman Trophy season may not have happened if Derrick was healthy for the whole season. Alexander got a medical red-shirt out of it, so the 1992 season wasn’t a total loss for Derrick.. He worked hard after his surgery and focused on being ready for the 1992 season.
Derrick made a full recovery and was back for a great season in 1992. Desmond Howard took his Heisman Trophy and left early for the NFL. So, Derrick had to step up and play a bigger role in the offense. Fortunately, that’s exactly what he did! Alexander caught 50 passes for 740 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also returned kickoffs and punts. He became the first man in modern Michigan Football history to return a punt for a touchdown in two consecutive games (Michigan State-80 yards and Indiana-70 yards). Yes, Derrick had an outstanding season and so did the Wolverines (9-0-3). Michigan won the Big Ten Championship for the fifth consecutive season. In fact, Alexander was so good in 1992 that he earned All-Conference and All-American honors for his stellar play.
Alexander’s senior season didn’t exactly turn out the way he had planned. He had had to work through some injuries, so his productivity went down. However, he still started 9 games and caught 35 passes for 621 yards. He averaged 17.7 yards per reception and scored six touchdowns (4 passing and 2 on punt returns). Derrick helped lead Michigan to a record of 8 wins and 4 losses. Michigan went 5-3-0 in the conference that year.
Derrick Scott Alexander is also connected to some important Michigan Football “firsts.” Here are some of the best ones I could find:
Take some time to appreciate Derrick on this You Tube video from the Michigan Historian – Wow, he was good!
Yes, Derrick Alexander left Michigan with a very impressive resume. He was a four-year letterman, a three-time Big Ten Champion, and an All-Big Ten and All-American performer. His name is still all over the record book for receptions and punt returns. Alexander was a star on some very, very good Michigan teams in the early 1990s. Derrick went on to enjoy a very successful career in the National Football League. He is now coaching at the college level. So, today is a very good day to wish a Maize and Blue Happy Birthday to Derrick Alexander. Thanks Derrick for your outstanding contributions to the great history of Michigan Football! Go Blue!
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