After an All-Big East season, and a year that saw him lead all Pitt defensive linemen with 57 stops, and other career-highs such as 15.5 tackles for losses, Chas Alecxih made a pretty remarkable run in his Pitt career. The final record of his senior season may not have been what he wanted, but to go from a 210-pound walk-on to NFL Combine invitee is a remarkable climb of itself.
Things took a turn for the worse when Alecxih got to Indianapolis for the Combine.
"I had a stomach flu the first night," Alecxih said. "That didn't help me with anything."
At the request of the Combine administrators, they advised Alecxih to pack his stuff and go home. Unfortunately, those words aren't part of his vocabulary.
"(Penn State defensive tackle) Devon Still was my roommate, and I chased him out (jokingly)," Alecxih said. "I didn't want to (go home), but there wasn't a lot of wiggle room. As soon as the first hint of sickness, they were like, ‘pack it up.' I felt good the first night. Then, I had chills, I had diarrhea. It was really bad."
Somehow, Alecxih felt he could fight through the sickness and still put up good numbers—something typical of the mantra of an offensive or defensive lineman.
"I was there, and I wanted to show I could compete," Alecxih said. "I did it. I was disappointed."
Luckily for Alecxih, Pitt hosted its annual Pro Day for a number of NFL scouts on Monday. Typically, nearly every NFL team is represented. He not only got a second chance to improve on his numbers, but he got some positive feedback from a few scouts in attendance.
"I came here, and I improved everything," Alecxih said. "I felt like I could show a lot more of what I can do."
Of course, the players are not handfed their exact numbers. If they want an idea of what they ran, or what they tested out at in a certain drill, they have to catch a quick glimpse at a stopwatch or listen carefully for a scout to call out their time.
"The only one I heard was a 5.09 (in the forty)," Alecxih said. "(At the combine), the electronic one, I did a 5.4. I know some handhelds had me at like a 5.2. Obviously, (5.09) is much better. When I was 270 pounds, I ran a 4.9. That was three years ago."
Between now and the NFL Draft, it will be more waiting and training for Alecxih. He worked out with teammates Buddy Jackson and Max Gruder at Camp Ignition in Naples, Florida since the end of the season. Outside of the testing, two good things working for Alecxih is that he has been able to get some good feedback from NFL scouts. It's nothing one way or the other to suggest that he'll definitely be drafted or definitely not be drafted. Still, it's feedback he finds useful for his next step. One thing also aiding him, he feels, is the fact that he's lined up at both end and tackle in a 4-3, and end in a 3-4—something that has come up in conversations with NFL scouts.
"I probably talked at the combine with 10 to 15 teams," Alecxih said. "I was able to play in both a 4-3 and a 3-4. For me personally. I like to think that shows some versatility. I've heard teams see me as both. I've played more of a d-tackle in a 4-3, but I like the five technique in a 3-4. I have no preference. I like them both."
If the NFL doesn't work for him, Alecxih already has a plan B. He's finishing up one last class before he will receive his degree in Communications next month. He's already put some thought into a career aside from football.
"What I'd like to do, is borrow a little bit of money from my dad, and then invest in apartments," Alecxih said. "I'll try to get some money working for me. Maybe down the road, I can have some money coming in, and I'd be able to coach football.
"Apartments in the city; flip them and fix them up. That's something I'd be interested in. (His dad) has been doing it for awhile and I'm kind of interested in it."