Texas' Monroe finally fulfilling promise

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm •  Published: October 3, 2012
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But heading into his senior season, Monroe didn't want to be a player best remembered for unfulfilled potential. Monroe quit running track in the spring to focus on how he could better fit into second-year offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's game plan.

To improve his hands, Monroe practiced running his routes and trying to catch tennis balls instead of footballs.

Monroe's touches are still quite limited. Jaxon Shipley, Marquise Goodwin and Mike Davis are Ash's favorite receiving targets. The Texas running game is built for power behind bruising tailbacks Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown.

Monroe only has 11 rushes for 80 yards, with a 7.3-yard average per carry and three touchdowns, including one in the first game where he bowled over a defender to score. And although he's listed as Goodwin's backup at one of the wide receiver slots, Monroe has only one catch for 15 yards this season. As a kick returner, he's more than proven his worth.

At his size and with his speed to get to the edge, Texas likes to use Monroe on speed sweeps and pre-snap motion to keep defenses off balance. If he can find open field, there's a good chance he can find the end zone.

West Virginia defensive coordinator Joe DeForest knows he has to account for Monroe whenever he's on the field. DeForest tried to recruit Monroe when he was as assistant at Oklahoma State

"He's one of the fastest kids we'll see," DeForest said. "They hand him a little jet sweep and he runs around people."

And with Monroe scoring touchdowns, Brown doesn't have to fend off so many questions about why Monroe's not involved in the offense.

"D.J. has been a fan favorite for a long time," Brown said with a subtle nod to the pestering he's endured over the last three years. "Nobody is asking anymore because he's playing well."