BYU and Pac-10 Vy for LDS Prospect Tyrone Monroe

When <b>Tyrone Monroe Jr.</b> accelerated to grab a short bouncing punt, he didn't know if it would be his only chance of the day, but he wasn't about to let the opportunity slip away. As his reputation has grown, Monroe has found playmaking chances to be precious and few.

Monroe saw an opening, shot between two defenders and found an opening down the left sideline for a 58-yard return. Although he was shoved out of bounds at the three, Monroe's run put the Gavilan College Rams in position to score their first touchdown en route to a 27-13 pasting of the DeAnza College Dons last Saturday.

In addition to Saturday's long punt return, Tyrone Monroe, a 6-1, 210 pound defensive back and special teams star, has runbacks of 45 and 60 yards with one touchdown. Monroe has a fluid and effortless running style that opposing players often do not realize he is running fast until he blows by them and pulls away.

Monroe was selected a 2003 First Team All-Coast Conference player and was named Gavilan's 2003 freshman of the year. In high school, he was named 2nd Team All-Mercury News defensive back, 1st team All-League, and the league's Most Outstanding Defensive Back.

The LDS prospect told he always wanted to attend BYU, but he was disappointed he didn't receive any attention from the Cougars. He is now getting lots of recruiting attention from Oregon, California, Texas A&M, San Diego State, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State and BYU.

As a free safety last season, the sure-handed Monroe registered eight interceptions – second most in California JC football in 2003. Opposing coaches often stayed away from Monroe because when he wasn't picking off passes, he was delivering punishing blows to receivers entering his domain. He closes very quickly on the ball and delivers Aaron Francisco-like pops.

In an effort to give Monroe more opportunities, Gavilan coach John Lango has rotated Tyrone between free safety and cornerback this season. At corner, he shows the speed and range to smother deep routes because he closes quickly on the ball. On Saturday, he delivered two bone-jarring hits that left receivers woozy.

Monroe is the nephew of former University of Utah and San Francisco 49er running back, Carl Monroe. His father, Tyrone Sr., is personal coach, ardent supporter and harsh critic all rolled into one.

The elder Monroe constantly communicates with TJ, Tyrone's nickname, urging his son to get to the ball and play with intensity. Tyrone Sr. admits it's a challenge because TJ is such a kind-hearted young LDS athlete.

On the sidelines, the likeable Monroe is the most vocal cheerleader and motivator on the team. He can often be seen conversing casually with game officials between plays. He also showed his friendly side as he chased down an opponent between plays to return a dropped mouthpiece.

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