UT in hunt for bright blocker

Tennessee is among the five leaders for a straight-A student who also ranks among the top junior offensive line prospects in America.

Eugene Monroe is a 6-6, 330-pound tackle from Plainfield (N.J.) who has a 4.0 grade-point average and 18 scholarship offers to date. Some sources consider him the top prospect in New Jersey and one of the best line prospects in America.

''I'm a real good pass blocker and I can dominate on run blocking as well,'' he told Allen Wallace of TheInsiders.com. ''I can block in the open field, too. I set my feet good and can work my hands well.''

Miami reportedly has a slight edge over Michigan State, Syracuse, Florida State and Tennessee at this point. All have offered him scholarships. His first offer was from hometown Rutgers (only 20 minutes away). He attended the Scarlet Knights' Junior Day, and plans to attend Maryland's Junior Day this weekend.

''A guy from my school (OL Eddie Wilkins) played there and he loved the program,'' Monroe said. ''He was part of the last national championship team they had. The OL coach (Art Kehoe) is supposed to be real good and I hope to talk to him soon.''

Michigan State appears to be recruiting him the hardest right now.

''I call the coach every other day and talk to them a lot because they are so far away it'll be difficult to get there,'' Monroe said. ''The coach recruiting me is also the OL coach (Jeff Stoutland) and it's a good idea to build a good relationship early.

''I want to go to a school that is known as a good academic program. I won't even look at a school that doesn't have good academics. I'll also be looking at the type of offense they se they have.''

Wherever Monroe commits, that school will have to wait awhile.

''I'll most definitely wait to commit,'' he said. ''I don't know where I'm gonna go right now. I'm still looking at a lot of schools. I was never into college football as a kid, so it's not like I have a favorite school. I have offers from schools all over the country.''

Tennessee is looking hard for offensive line help after losing four of its top six blockers from the 2003 starting group -- Scott Wells, Anthony Herrera, Chavis Smith and Sean Young. The Vols signed a juco line prospect last December, Albert Toeaina, and added three prep blockers on Feb. 4 -- Cam Mayo, Anthony Parker and Ramon Foster.

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