DEMAREE: Alexis Bwenge, the quiet competitor

Mums the word! Running back/fullback Alexis Bwenge is never going to be mistaken for T.O. (Terrell Owens) because of his quiet demeanor. He is going to be a fifth year senior but has just recently gotten comfortable with speaking to the press. Fortunately, he has passed that stage and offers these comments to KSR readers.

If one didn't know better, they would think him a snob. He is generally very reluctant to speak to members of the media. His native language is French and from this writer's perspective, he always spoke clear English but Bwenge obviously saw it differently. "When you are learning a new language you are not very comfortable, you know, stage fright," Bwenge said. "You are comfortable with your friends and teammates but when you get in public or people you don't know, you lose a little bit of it."

Bwenge came to UK from St. Apollinaire, Quebec Canada. When he arrived here on the first day of practice, we remember back to watching him run his gassers – a set consists of four 40-yarders. He was so far out ahead of his group that after the third one he thought he was finished and the coaches were yelling ‘one more Alexis.' After having stopped, he did the last one and still finished first.

To what did he attribute his superb conditioning then and it obviously has continued? "I guess it was the way I was brought up in my high school program back home," he said.

As a back carrying the ball, he's had his moments at Kentucky. In the 2003 seven overtime lost to Arkansas, he amassed 89-yards most of which came in the fourth quarter and the overtimes. He was unstoppable and continuously moved the chains. He also had a 51-yard touchdown catch and run in which he made a couple of Razorbacks miss.

Bwenge just comes to work every day and answers the call when called upon, and it seems that every time he's called upon in games he delivers. He's epitomizes what offensive football is all about and that's moving the chains. In his four years at UK, Bwenge has never missed a practice.

The youngster said he started playing football in Canada in the seventh grade at the behest of the football coach. Prior to that he was playing basket and could dunk a basketball at an early age. Football turned out to be more suitable for him.

How did he get to UK? "Coach (Mark)Nelson saw me at the Montreal Combine and recruited me to Kentucky," Bwenge explained. "A Tennessee guy was present too and he was interested - he said don't doing anything until we contact you but that's where it stopped."

Bwenge's tremendous work ethic has built him from a muscular 6-foot-1 205-pounds to a now muscular 230-pounds. Last season he was as high as 236-pounds. "I feel good at 230-pounds because I'm light enough to run the ball effectively but still heavy enough to block."

Bwenge could have a future in football when he leaves UK. It would be a huge leap of faith now to predict him in the NFL draft but certain things could happen like becoming a devastating blocker and getting a chance to carry the football more. In the event he doesn't see a future there, he has already been drafted in the Canadian Football League.

The Canadian draft system automatically puts the player in the draft after their fourth year. They have six rounds in their draft. Bwenge was the eighth pick in the first round and his fellow countryman Raymond Fontaine was the first pick of the second round. He said he would like to pursue football after college. In the event that didn't work out, he already has a degree in Political Science.

Back home, his mother, Mariette Dumaas owns a nursing home and he said his mother has always instilled in him, "work hard."

One of the best ways to find out about a guy from the offensive side of the ball is to ask someone who concentrates on the defensive side of the ball. "He can do a lot of different things," coach Steve Brown elaborated, "and he's athletic enough to not only run the ball but to catch the ball. Plus he poses a threat because he can block. He's got a lot of different dimensions. You never where he's going to line up. He gets that good forward lean so he pretty solid as far as running but he athletic enough to where you can't just go blow him up because he can make you miss."

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