Monroe discusses Maryland pledge

After Maryland wrapped up its 2009 recruiting class, one of the Terps’ first junior scholarship offers went out to St. John’s College (D.C.) defensive tackle Andre Monroe.

The 5-foot-11, 290-pounder thought about making an early commitment, but decided to go through the recruiting process for a little while. That ended Tuesday night, when Monroe committed to the Terps.

“It feels great knowing that I’m committed and they were at the top of my list the whole time,” Monroe said. “It feels great and I feel relief, getting it out of the way before the season so I can concentrate on my senior year.”After Maryland offered, New Mexico, Akron, Bowling Green, Miami (OH) and Ohio followed suit with scholarships of their own. Other major schools expressed interest, and Monroe took visits to Pittsburgh, Duke and North Carolina. But the Terps remained his only BCS-conference offer. St. John’s coach Joe Patterson thinks there’s a simple explanation for Monroe’s relatively low-profile recruitment.

“[Monroe’s height] was the only thing you ever heard anyone talking about ... as far as any issues he may have had,” Patterson said. “If he had been a couple of inches taller, I’m sure he would’ve been a national recruit.”

The Maryland staff first saw Monroe at a summer football camp before his sophomore year. Whenever a Terps coach went to a St. John’s game last season to check out offensive line recruit Pete White, Monroe inevitably played his way into their consciousness. Patterson said Monroe’s junior film led to the early UM offer.

“Andre is as productive as anyone I’ve ever had,” Patterson said. “Teams had to scheme around him. ... He reminds me, as far as being a playmaker, of Tony Tucker, who’s a defensive end for Pittsburgh. I think Andre brings a whole different range of skills just because he has such a tremendously low center of gravity and he uses his body so well. And he’s got incredibly strong legs. That package [is tough to come by].”

Monroe and White used to car-pool together to St. John’s, and the two are admittedly close. But Monroe said his former and future teammate never put pressure on him to commit to the Terps.

“He threw his input in there,” Monroe said. “But he wasn’t trying to do it really hard like all the coaches were. He explained to me that he went through the process, too. He showed me how sometimes the pressure can get to you, and he didn’t want [me to go through] some of the things that happened to him.”

When Monroe arrives in College Park in 2010, he’ll have a chance to go up against White in practice again on a daily basis. Monroe said he’s excited to suit up for the program that believed in him from the start. For the rest of the summer, he’s committed to making his senior season a memorable one.

“Right now I’ll keep working out and continue to get better, spend more time with my teammates to make sure we’re together to have a successful season and win a championship.”

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