Ball State Class of '09: Jelani Alford will continue the tradition of highlighting each player that signs a letter of intent for a given class. This time around it is the class of 2009. Here is a brief scouting report on each of the 22 players in the class. Today we have the first of those 22 installments.

Jelani Alford, 5-10 175 RB, Cincinnati (Withrow)

What he brings: You don't get offers from most Mid American Conference schools as well as a BCS offer from Nebraska if you don't have some major talent and skill. Alford certainly brings that talent in the form of an electric running style. Alford is a player with the skill set to take the ball to the house any time he touches it. He is quick in the short area, but has an extra boost that allows him to accelerate in the open field. Alford also has better than average hands and lined up in the slot some in high school where he could be used in the open field as a mismatch against slower LBs and Safeties.

Areas of improvement: Where will he excel? Is Alford going to be an every down back or a sort of X position where he will line up in several spots on the field. If the latter is true, then Jelani will have a learning curve on how to play multiple slots on the field. My feeling is, he will be a multi-faceted player in Coach Parrish's high octane offense. One other area of concern – look for Jelani to add another 5 lbs. This will help with durability and the ability to take on hits from larger players. grade: I see Jelani as having the potential to be something special. He has the speed and elusiveness to make match up nightmares for opposing DCs. Look for the Cardinals to line Jelani up as a RB & Slot receiver at different times and work him in both running the ball and receiving passes & screens.

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