BUTTE — Perhaps it's fitting that Wyatt Alexander emerged from the non-conference portion of Montana Tech football's schedule as the Orediggers' leading receiver considering he spent the past seasons learning from Trevor Hoffman, who was consistently Tech's top wideout during his All-American career.
"(Hoffman) taught me a million things about football," said Alexander — a 2018 Whitehall graduate who was a Class B all-state selection as a senior — at a Tech practice this week.
"Even just watching his game, seeing how he runs," continued Alexander, now a redshirt junior. "He's built fairly similarly to me. Taking what he does on the field and applying it to my game was huge."
The results of that application have been obvious: Through two games against ranked Carroll College and Division II Central Washington, Alexander has hauled in three touchdown receptions and piled up 252 receiving yards. His 126 receiving yards per game lead the Frontier Conference and his three scoring catches are tied with Montana Western's Eli Nourse and Jon Schofield for the best mark in the league.
The numbers are impressive, but Alexander said he's was simply zeroed in on being a productive weapon for Tech, not on stuffing a stat sheet.
"I was expecting a few big games, I've kind of been working my butt off," he said. "I've been working with the quarterbacks and the whole team, just trying to get better. So I'm not expecting numbers but I'm expecting to play pretty solid."
At Whitehall, the quarterback/receiver duo of Max Feight and Alexander was one of the most prolific in the state, culminating in the pair connecting for 19 touchdowns during the 2017 season.
Alexander and Tech quarterback Blake Thelen — who tossed five touchdowns in Tech's win over Central Washington — seem to have a similar rapport. For Alexander, it's been about making the most of the opportunity.
"I think it's working with the guys that you have in the moment," he said. "In Whitehall, I had Max, he's a great quarterback, we had a bunch of other great wide receivers, a good O-line. The same thing translates here."
Tech head coach Kyle Samson said he's not surprised at Alexander's breakout performance through the first two weeks, especially considering injuries limited him in the 2019 and 2021 seasons.
"(Alexander's) become stronger, he's a great student of the game," Samson said. "It's really awesome to see a local guy here from Whitehall doing a tremendous job."
Alexander will look to keep his torrid pace going as the No. 16 Orediggers (1-1) open conference play with a two-game homestand, beginning with Eastern Oregon (1-1) this Saturday at 1 p.m. No. 8 College of Idaho then comes to Butte the following week.
Tech's passing game found a winning formula against Central Washington, with Alexander being a key ingredient. The Orediggers will look to dial up a similar attack against the Mountaineers.
"Kind of do the same stuff we did last week," said Alexander. "Just kind of focus up in practice, focus on the scheme. Lot of it's just communication, making sure everybody's on the same page and working hard."