Melvin Alaeze, who we wrote about in mid-June, has apparently found a home in Champaign. The Fighting Illini held their first workouts yesterday, and Alaeze was among the 20+ newcomers to report to the team. If you recall, Alaeze was a top defensive end recruit during the past two recruiting sessions, as both a high school senior and a prep player, that had verbally committed to the University of Maryland. However, off-the-field problems compelled the Terps to pull Alaeze's offer. Illinois head coach Ron Zook, looking to improve on the 2-9 record that the Illini produced during his first season with the team, apparently thought the benefits of adding Alaeze to his team outweighed the risks of his past indescretions. On the one hand, I see the potential reward that Zook must see in adding Alaeze to a team that must improve its overall talent-base to compete in the Big 10. The obvious problem here is that Alaeze has a history of legal problems that is tough to overlook. More so, if I were an Illini fan, I would worry about the ego of Zook in this case. Current fans of the Cincinnati Bengals are seeing what happens when a coach feels that he is a strong enough leader to overcome the addition of many problematic players. One bad apple can really spoil the chemistry of a team and damage, not only the team's success, but also its image among alumni and fans. After posting a 2-9 record, Illinois did not have much room to fall any further, but if the team sees off-field problems its players become unlikeable, it is quite possible the team could sink to lower depths.