Monroe Primed For Big Season

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Eugene Monroe graded out as the team’s top offensive lineman in five games last season.

In the 11 games Eugene Monroe played last season, the Virginia football team attempted 359 passes. Monroe, the starting left tackle, did not allow a single sack. Not one. As the senior statesman on the Cavaliers’ offensive line entering 2008, Al Groh thinks Monroe could be even better this season no matter how the statistics play out.

“He is a player that really has caught people’s attention here early. He finished at a high level last year – he looks like he’s already ahead of that level,” Groh said. “Gene’s another player who had an awesome summer, really bought into the nutrition and all the training. His movement is terrific. His size is still substantial. His strength is excellent. He’s certainly looking right now like where he could have a season comparable to any of those who preceded him.”

Take a moment to let that sink in. Those who preceded him include Branden Albert , last season’s No. 17 pick in the NFL Draft, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the No. 4 selection in 2006’s draft. That doesn’t even consider guys like Elton Brown and Brad Butler, who are both on NFL rosters currently as well.

Monroe, considered one of the top recruits in the 2005 class, is already getting early hype as one of the top linemen in next April’s NFL Draft. Not that Groh is surprised by such news.

“We feel like we’re establishing a reputation for developing offensive linemen,” said Groh. “All of them have … developed throughout the course of their careers. [Monroe] is the only one between Albert, Ferguson and himself who was hindered by injuries early in his career, so he didn’t have the opportunity for the same consistency and repetition that the others did, but now that he’s being able to build up those repetitions his game is really starting to move along nicely. He’s got very good athletic ability and has been one of the hardest