Nero Alexander

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Nero Alexander
Image of Nero Alexander
Alexander at a media event
No. 92 – Yellowknife Wraiths
Position:Defensive End
Personal information
Born: (2005-07-07)July 7, 2005 (aged 42)
Chicago, IL
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:300 lb (136 kg)
Career information
High school:Walter Payton College Prep
College:Northwestern
ISFL Draft:S15 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
DSFL Draft:S14 / Round: 2 / Pick: 4
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
  • Third team All-American
  • First team All-Big Ten Conference
  • S14 DSFL Pro Bowl
  • S14 DSFL Defensive Lineman of the Year
  • S16 NSFL Pro Bowl
  • S17 NSFL Pro Bowl
  • S17 NSFL Defensive Lineman of the Year
  • S18 NSFL Pro Bowl
  • S20 NSFL Pro Bowl

Nero Alexander (born July 7, 2007) is an American football defensive end for the Yellowknife Wraiths of the National Simulation Football League. He played college football for Northwestern University (NU).

Early years

Alexander was born in Chicago, Ilinois on July 7th, 2005. His parents, Carl and Mary Alexander, were both public school teachers, instilling a love of learning in him throughout his childhood. Carl coached Alexander's youth football, baseball, and basketball teams before urging him to focus on football as he approached high school.

Alexander attended Walter Payton College Prep, a magnet school in the Old Town neighborhood on Chicago's north side. He excelled in the classroom and on the gridiron, leading the Grizzlies to a 9-1 record and a conference title in his senior season while also serving as president of the school's Model UN club. Alexander proved to be a versatile player, lining up all over the front 7 during his high school career. In his senior year, he nearly tied the state record with 10 recovered fumbles to go along with 84 tackles, 16 sacks, and three interception on defense. He currently holds school career records for tackles, sacks, forced fumbles, and recovered fumbles.

Despite his high school production, Alexander received limited interest from college football recruiters. He was rated a three-star recruit (#41 DE, #22 in Illinois) by Rivals.com, earning offers to play at academically-minded schools FCS schools such as Cornell, Georgetown, and Villanova as well as non-power FBS programs including Akron, Bowling Green, Northern Ilinois, and Central Michigan. Late in his senior year, however, Alexander received offers from the University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and Northwestern University. He committed to the Wildcats, citing academic prestige and proximity to home in addition to the opportunity to play in the Big Ten.

College career

Alexander played in 9 games as a true freshman, recording 9 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2.5 tackles for loss.

Alexander sacks Penn State quarterback Chad Archer

Alexander became a larger part of the defensive line rotation during his sophomore season, appearing in all 13 games. He recorded 6 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery in a 34-14 win over the University of Arkansas in the Music City Bowl. He finished the year with 18 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 7 tackles for loss.

Prior to his junior season, starting defensive ends Jon Hader and Aaron Hall departed for the professional ranks. Alexander earned a regular starting role, starting 10 games for the Wildcats before suffering a torn ACL that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. He recorded 27 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 9 tackles for loss on the season.

Alexander was voted by his teammates as the recipient of the coveted no. 1 jersey prior to his senior season, given to a player who “truly embodies the values and character of the Northwestern football family.” He returned to his full-time starting role and started all 14 games for the Wildcats while leading them to their first-ever Big Ten Championship game and a Citrus Bowl berth. He was named a third team All-American and first team All-Big Ten player after finishing the season with 49 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 2 recovered fumbles, and a defensive touchdown.

Alexander graduated from Northwestern cum laude with a major in Economics and a minor in Statistics.

Collegiate statistics

Nero Alexander Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds TD PD FR Yds TD FF
2023 Northwestern Big Ten FR DE 9 3 6 9 2.5 2.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2024 Northwestern Big Ten SO DE 13 8 10 18 7.0 4.5 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
2025 Northwestern Big Ten JR DE 10 12 15 27 9.0 4.0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1
2026 Northwestern Big Ten SR DE 14 25 24 49 15.5 9.5 0 0 0 6 2 64 1 3
Career Northwestern 46 48 55 103 34.0 19.5 0 0 0 9 3 64 1 4


Professional career

DSFL

Alexander was drafted by the San Antonio Marshals with the 10th overall pick in the historically deep S14 DSFL draft. The San Antonio General Manager was quoted as saying "I almost picked this guy round one, I really did - I did not think he was going to drop. When he fell to me, I was so happy."

Alexander, along with teammates Morgan Marshall, Mo Berry, Quentin Bode, and Walt Green, built a strong S14 draft for San Antonio. Throughout the season, the “Fab V” led the Marshals to the greatest regular season in DSFL history, with a 13-1 record and a DSFL record 205 point differential. The team was eliminated in the SFC championship game by the Tijuana Luchadores after the vaunted defense allowed Luchadores running back Forrest Gump to rush for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 carries.

Alexander, along with the rest of the Fab V, entered the S15 NSFL Draft and moved up to NSFL teams after one DSFL season.

NSFL

Despite much buzz predicting Alexander to be drafted first overall in the S15 NSFL Draft by the Arizona Outlaws, he was selected fourth overall in the first round by the Yellowknife Wraiths. Yellowknife, in need of help along the defensive line with the decline of star Zach Skinner, saw Alexander as an immediate contributor to the defense. In his rookie season, Alexander started all 14 games for the Wraiths, who would end the season 7-7 and one game out of playoff contention.

Alexander took over as the primary pass rusher for the Wraiths in his sophomore season, earning Pro Bowl honors as Yellowknife improved their record to 10-3, good for second place in the conference. They were eliminated in the NSFC quarterfinals by the Philadelphia Liberty.

Alexander, forming a fearsome duo along the defensive line with fellow S15 draftee Ryan Leaf Jr., led the team to a conference-best 8-5 record and the league’s best scoring defense in S17. The Wraiths were eliminated by the rival Baltimore Hawks in the NSFC championship game. Alexander once again earned a Pro Bowl berth along with a Defensive Lineman of the Year award upon setting a career high in tackles for loss, including a five-TFL game against Baltimore in week 5.

S18 saw the Wraiths continue their reign at the top of the NSFC, finishing the regular season an 11-2 record along with the league’s top scoring offense and second-ranked scoring defense. The Wraiths earned their first Ultimus berth in many seasons, losing by a score of 10-16 to the defending champion Orange County Otters. Alexander earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl nod.

In S19, Yellowknife once again topped the NSFC with a 9-4 record. The Wraiths, once again favored to win the Ultimus championship, won the conference championship in a dominant 55-14 showing before losing once again to Orange County by a score of 27-30. Alexander was joined on the defensive line by young linebacker Maurice Virtanen, who earned Pro Bowl honors opposite Alexander while his streak came to an end.

Following back-to-back home Ultimus losses, many commentators expected the Wraiths to once again win the NSFC and compete for the league championship in S20. Another 9-4 record placed Yellowknife at the top of the conference with yet another overall first seed in the playoffs. The defense, led by Alexander, ranked second in the league and first in the conference in rush yardage allowed. After handily dispatching the Colorado Yeti by a score of 40-24 in the conference championship game, the Wraiths once again found themselves in the driver's seat for a league title. However, they suffered their largest Ultimus defeat of the current streak against the Austin Copperheads, losing 37-20.

As the Wraiths headed into S21, they remained a top contender but were widely viewed as on the decline, losing ground to conference foes Colorado and Baltimore. On a personal level, Alexander reached the apex of his career and found himself at the top of the league in terms of most skilled players. Along with newly-converted defensive tackle Giannis Kroustis, he was expecting the finest season of his career, telling reporters "I feel great. I've been around this league for a while now, and I think that the game has slowed down for me to the point where I expect to control the line of scrimmage on every play. There's no one in this league more ready for this season than I am." Unfortunately, the season didn't live up to expectations. Alexander finished with just 1 sack, the fewest of his career, and 7 tackles for loss, the fewest since his rookie season. Yellowknife finished the regular season with a 7-6 record, good for third in the conference and a wildcard playoff slot. When the team got to the postseason, everything turned around. The Wraiths ousted the top-seeded Yeti on the road before squeezing out a tight road win in Baltimore. In these two games, Alexander recorded 15 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble, numbers that far outpaced his regular season per-game production. The Wraiths found themselves in the Ultimus game once again, on the road for the first time in four seasons. The miracle run came to an end in New Orleans, as the Wraiths fell 33-13 to the New Orleans Second Line.

In what has become a recurring theme of Alexander’s career with the Wraiths, the team once again entered the new season, S22, with title hopes coming off of another postseason disappointment. The Wraiths lost their season opener on the road against the Colorado Yeti, then won 11 of the final 12 to finish with an 11-2 record and once again claim the top overall seed in the playoffs. The Wraiths led the league in points scored and allowed, finishing with one of the best point differentials in league history. Individually, Alexander rebounded from his disappointing preview season to record 13 tackles for loss and 5 sacks, each the second-most of his NSFL career. Unfortunately, the league landscape was dominated by a crop of dominant defensive line rookies, causing Nero to miss the Pro Bowl for the second straight season. At the end of the season, he had moved into a tie with Drew Davidson third place all time on the career tackles for loss leaderboard, 15 away from second place and 30 away from first. Entering the playoffs, the Wraiths were widely favored to finally take home the Ultimus trophy. After a first round bye, they matched up at home with the Colorado Yeti, who had led the conference for the first five weeks before dropping four straight games to take second in the conference. In a grueling 17-16 game, Yellowknife was defeated, once again missing their opportunity to take home the league’s greatest prize. Alexander recorded just one tackle in the loss.

The S23 season in which the league re-branded to the International Simulation Football League to finally recognize Yellowknife's presence and expanded the schedule from 13 to 16 games, looked to be a pivotal one for Alexander and the Wraiths from the start. Quarterback Cooter Bigsby announced that it would be his final season before turning the reigns over to young prospect Colby Jack, and Yellowknife's rapidly aging core led many to question if this was the final year of the championship window. In what has become an annual tradition, the Wraiths lost their season opener to Baltimore on the road, but rebounded to sweep the remainder of the first slate of conference games. Non-conference play saw frustrating overtime losses to Orange County and New Orleans, as well as a 46-13 dismantling by Austin. Despite losing their final two games of the season, Yellowknife managed to tie for the conference lead with the Colorado Yeti at 10-6, winning the top seed by virtue of scoring 52 more points. Despite the finest statistical season of his career - his most tackles in a season (50), tied for his most TFLs (16), and his second-most sacks (5), Alexander once again missed out on Pro Bowl honors due to outstanding performances by the league's young crop of defensive ends. However, he did move into sole possession of second place on the league's all-time career tackle for loss leaderboard with 99, surpassing Fuego Wozy's 98 and sitting within striking distance of Tuck's 113. In the playoffs, the team won a 13-10 nail-biter against Colorado in the conference championship, highlighted by Alexander's first career blocked field goal, to move on to the fifth Ultimus game of Alexander's career. In a stunning run reminiscent of Yellowknife's S21 postseason, Austin upset Orange County to give Yellowknife homefield advantage yet again. This time, the team took care of business, handling the Copperheads with a final score of 38-13. Alexander recorded four tackles, a TFL, and a sack.

The S24 season proved to be a retooling campaign for Alexander and the Wraiths after the departure of team legends in Bigsby and Swift, leaving Alexander the team's elder statesman after cornerback Johnny Snuggles (in his final campaign before retirement). Although he was one of the oldest players in the league, Alexander's skills showed few signs of regressing as he made another push for the all-time career record for TFLs. The Wraiths started strong, winning 4 of their first 6 games, but eventually hit a skid in the first season with future star Colby Jack under center. The team lost a pair of cross-divisional games before pulling off an upset on the road in New Orleans, but then found itself on the losing end of 6 straight games (4 of which it was favored in). This stroke of bad luck led the Wraiths to a fourth-place finish in the division at 6-10, missing the playoffs for the first time since Alexander's rookie season. Yellowknife's seemingly elite defensive line anchored by Alexander along with rising stars Patrik Money and James Cho failed to meet expectations, finishing just sixth in the league in rush yards allowed per game. Alexander, after making his name with blowing up rushing plays behind the line of scrimmage for so many seasons, found new life as a quarterback hunter. His 9 tackles for loss were his fewest in four seasons, although he nearly doubled his career high sack count with 10 (previous high of 6). Unfortunately, Alexander's strong efforts tailed off as the Wraiths hit their skid and he once again missed the Pro Bowl, his fourth straight season watching the event from home.

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40‑yd dash 20‑ss 3‑cone Vert jump Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 4 in
(1.93 m)
274 lb
(124 kg)
4.39 s 4.37 s 7.47 s 30.4 in
(0.77 m)
123 ft 1 in
(37.52 m)
43 reps 24

Professional career statistics

Nero Alexander Tackles Turnovers Scoring
Year Team League Season Pos G Tkl TFL Sk FR FF Sfty
2029 Marshals DSFL S14 DE 14 41 12 8 0 0 1
2030 Wraiths NSFL S15 DE 14 43 6 3 0 0 0
2031 Wraiths NSFL S16 DE 13 36 10 6 0 1 0
2032 Wraiths NSFL S17 DE 13 43 16 3 0 0 0
2033 Wraiths NSFL S18 DE 13 27 9 4 0 1 0
2034 Wraiths NSFL S19 DE 13 32 10 2 1 0 0
2035 Wraiths NSFL S20 DE 13 44 12 3 2 1 0
2036 Wraiths NSFL S21 DE 13 38 7 1 0 2 0
2037 Wraiths NSFL S22 DE 13 44 13 5 0 2 0
2038 Wraiths NSFL S23 DE 16 50 16 5 1 2 0
2039 Wraiths NSFL S24 DE 16 56 9 10 0 0 0
Career YKW 147 413 108 42 4 9 0

Achievements and records

In his inaugural professional season with San Antonio, Alexander ranked second among DSFL defensive linemen with 8 sacks along with 12 tackles for loss, earning Pro Bowl and Defensive Lineman of the Year honors.

Alexander has been selected to the NSFL Pro Bowl in four out of his six seasons in Yellowknife, ranking among league leaders in tackles for loss each season.

In S17, Alexander was narrowly voted as the NSFL Defensive Lineman of the Year in a hotly contested race against Austin Copperheads defensive end Grayson Kuusela. Kuusela led all defensive linemen with 15 sacks and recorded a safety, while Alexander recorded a league-leading 16 tackles for loss along with three sacks. The pick generated significant controversy, led by Austin General Manager Charlie Law, especially in light of the S16 vote that saw Thorian Skarsgard's 11 sacks and two tackles for loss win the award over Lo Rax's 18 TFLs and 5 sacks.