In a game of stars, the biggest star of them all was arguably 5-foot-9-inch D.J. Monroe, who earned the game's Most Valuable Offensive Player honor after racking up 120 rushing yards and a touchdown on just nine carries in a losing effort for the South all-stars. Fellow Texas signee and Brenham offensive lineman Luke Poehlmann also suited up for the South squad, which fell 16-15 thanks to a late North rally that featured two recovered onside kicks.
Monroe, the latest prep standout from Angleton High School to head to Texas (Quentin Jammer and Ahmard Hall are also former Wildcats), did not play on defense in the ball game, instead making his mark in the return game and on offense as a running back.
One of the fastest players in Texas’ 2008 signing class, Monroe showed off his 4.4 speed and lightning quickness all night long, but two plays in particular showed just how electric he can be with the ball in his hands.
The first highlight reel play by Monroe came with the South leading 3-0 in the third quarter. Monroe took a hand-off on a zone play from the shotgun and started to his right then found a crease in the defense and cut back against the grain and left the North defense in the dust as he jetted 66 yards to the end zone for the first touchdown of the game.
The second play nearly brought the South back from a late fourth quarter rally by the North squad as former Argyle kicker and Baylor signee Ben Parks nailed a 41-yard field goal to give the North a one point lead with 25 seconds remaining in regulation. Monroe then fielded the ensuing kickoff five yards deep in his own end zone and nearly came to complete stop at the five while he waited for the wedge to form in front of him. Shortly thereafter, in the blink of eye, Monroe found some daylight from behind his wall of blockers and nearly returned the kick for a score before Parks tripped him up after a 72-yard return. Monroe’s effort however was all for naught as the South’s last second field goal attempt was blocked to preserve the victory for the North team.
Monroe is no stranger to the offensive side of the ball. The Angleton standout averaged 5.6 yards per carry and 16 yards per reception as a senior while accounting for 11 touchdowns. He also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns as a senior as he tallied over 2,700 all-purpose yards over his final two prep seasons. He also recorded eight interceptions in his high school career and was an all-State pick at free safety in 2007. Monroe showed what he can do from the secondary on national stage back in January at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as he earned the Fastest Player Award during the week of practices leading up to the game and intercepted a pass in the game. On Tuesday night Monroe managed to get in on three tackles, all of which came on interception returns by the North defense. One of the tackles saved what would have been a North touchdown.
Earlier this year, Angleton coach Finis Vanover told Inside Texas, "(The Texas coaches) know how many ways (Monroe) can score points, as opposed to covering someone else’s receiver... they told him the same thing, ‘We’re pretty much convinced we’re moving you back over on the offensive side because there are so many things you can do, like a Quan Cosby-type.’”
If Mack Brown and Co. needed more convincing, they may just have gotten it Tuesday night in San Antonio.
As for Poehlmann, the former Brenham star had perhaps the toughest assignment on the line, squaring off with future Oklahoma defensive end R.J. Washington. Poehlmann held his own at times against Washington, showing solid footwork, but Washington also won his share of the battles. Poehlmann has a ton of physical upside but is a likely redshirt candidate as the Texas staff will look to add bulk to his wiry 6-foot-7-inch frame.