Best junior may be an OT

When talking about the best player in any given class, the top dog is usually a QB or a RB. Maybe even a DE of a LB. But an OT? For the class of 2005, that very well may be the case.

Eugene Monroe from Plainfield (NJ) has the look of an NFL All-Pro left tackle, and has the traits both on and off the field to reach that goal in the future.

An incredible physical specimen, Monroe says that he stands 6'6" and weighs 330 pounds. And unlike many big kids at that age, he is an athlete, too. Monroe runs the 40 in 5.25, while benching 345 and squatting 560. He also is excellent at the shot put for Plainfield. And if you think all of that makes Monroe perfect, there is one place where he is officially better than perfect. That is in the classroom.

"My GPA is actually 4.2 because I take a lot of accelerated courses," states the massive scholar who will take the SAT's in March.

While Monroe isn't sure what he wants to major in, he does see a quality education as an important part of his life. When asked what he was looking for in a school, he states, "Number one is academics. Football is not forever. After that I want a good football program."

On the field, Monroe surprisingly did not give up a sack in his junior season and is proud of the number of pancake blocks that he is credited with.

"I had 57 pancake blocks. And they were official pancake blocks. Not the kind where the other guy trips. They were all blocks where I knocked the guy to the ground."

All of these amazing qualities have not been lost on college recruiters. Monroe already has an incredible 18 scholarship months before his junior year of high school is over. In fact, there wer so many that he had trouble remembering all of them.

But included in the list are Rutgers, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Florida State, Virginia, Boston College, Miami, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Duke, Syracuse, Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Connecticut.

Pittsburgh, according to Monroe, has sent him a letter and he would be interested if they offered.

Monroe states that he had no favorite team growing up and when asked if it's important that he stays close to home, he said, "no, not at all".

Rutgers, however, is one of Monroe's favorites and he says that former Plainfield teammate Leslie Collins and friend Jeremy Zuttah will try to get him to go to Rutgers.

The other three schools, besides Rutgers, that Monroe lists as his current favorites are Miami, Michigan State, and Florida State.

He says he enjoyed the Army junior combine in San Antonio last month and may go to the Nike Combine this spring. As for camps, Florida State is mentioned as a possibility.

"I'm thinking about it. If I do, it will be for more than just the camp. I would stay awhile to see the campus. I was only in Florida once as a little kid, but I liked it. I think I might like it there."

Wherever he goes, Monroe is not in a rush to decide, stating that he will take his time. Probably wise considering he could choose from any team in the country. Not bad for an offensive lineman.

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