Class of 2005: New Jersey OL Eugene Monroe

It's never too early to start looking at some of the top junior prospects in the nation, especially when one of those prospects plays at school where Wolfpack coaches are already recruiting his senior teammate.

So, while Chuck Amato's staff is taking a close look at Plainfield (NJ) Senior High offensive lineman Steve Council, you can bet they are keeping a watchful eye on his younger counterpart Eugene Monroe, who may turn out to be one of the top offensive tackles in the nation next year.

At 6'6" and 315 pounds, Monroe clearly fits the description of the type of specimen Amato wants on his offensive line. He can bench 335, squat 570 and run a 5.3 second 40, but he also has the skills to be as dominant as any offensive tackle in the nation. In fact, when asked what sets him apart from other linemen, he was quick to suggest that his pass-blocking techniques could put him at another level.

"I don't think most linemen use their hands as well as I do," he said. "Once I get my hands right on somebody, it's over for them."

Last season, Monroe registered 52 pancakes and only allowed one sack. Through four games this year, Eugene has 22 pancakes, has not allowed a sack and has graded out at 95 percent. These are clearly the type of statistics college coaches look for in an offensive line recruit, and Plainfield coach Clint Jones knows that he has a special prospect on his hands.

"The sky is the limit for this kid," said Jones. "We play him at left tackle only because we don't want anybody blind-sided – and we don't have to worry about that as long as Eugene is there. He loves to pass block, and he's almost got the perfect form. I'm not saying he doesn't like to run block, but this kid runs in open space and gets down the field like no kid I've ever seen. He just blocks really well in the open."

Coach Jones was also eager to talk about Monroe's match-ups last year with other top prospects in the state, especially NC State target Jeremy Zuttah of J.P. Stevens in Edison (NJ). When Eugene squared off against Zuttah, who was playing on the defensive side of the ball for a change, Jones said you could "feel the electricity."

"I wish you could've been there when they went up against each other," he said. "It was a really good battle. You saw the Eugene's Division I talent come out."

While it is still early in Eugene's recruitment process, several Division I programs have been in touch, and Rutgers and Maryland have already extended written offers. Monroe says that he has no favorites at this point, and most of what he knows about the schools recruiting him – including NC State – he learns from Council. In fact, Council is like a big brother to him, as well as senior guard Robert Crudup, and the three of them seem to do everything together.

"You can't separate those guys," said Jones. "They're triplets: three great kids to have on your team, three great kids to coach, three great human beings outside of football."

But while Council and Crudup are already helping Eugene get ready for the recruiting circus he will certainly face next year, the hulking junior knows that he will take his time and make the right decision. And Jones is as vigilant as any coach safeguarding his player's interests.

"In talking to the New Jersey recruiters, he'll be the #1 kid in New Jersey next year," said Jones. "If there's a kid better than Eugene on the offensive or defensive line, I want to see him."

NJ Junior OL Eugene Monroe

Pack Pride Top Stories