In my opinion, Darryl Monroe was the most underrated player for Washington State last year. Although Darryl was celebrated with an All-Pac-12 honorable mention, he is not often (or often enough) highlighted when people talk about what will turn this team around in the coming years.
As a red shirt freshman last year, Monroe finished second on the team with 80 tackles. He also had an array of impressive stats over last year. For example he tied for 16th-most tackles in the Pac-12, he made 8.5 tackles-for-loss and he tallied seven-plus tackles six times. Darryl is also respected by his teammates and was selected a team captain three times (Colorado, Oregon, Washington).
What impresses me about #13 is his growing ability to read plays and position himself correctly, by doing this he is able to capitalize on opportunity. Whether that opportunity is making a tackle or recovering a fumble, last year he time and time again was able to be there. Watching his highlights I found that the kid not only has great athletic ability, but a great deal of football smarts. The only thing that I hope to see improve is his reaction time. Last year, When Darryl would make a read before the play had started or was sent in to blitz, the kid was a force of nature, impressive to say the least. However when he had to make adjustments mid play his decisions were often good but his reaction time was decent and needs to improve in 2013. This is something I believe comes with time spent on the field, as his first full season came to a close last year, his reaction time improved. I am glad to see he is improving here because in 2013 he has the ability to be one of the top defenders in the Pac-12.
I know there have been a few articles on this impressive young man and that Leach thinks very highly of him and has often complemented his football smarts and abilities. Like I said though, it’s not often enough! Darryl Monroe will be a huge key to the Cougars success not only next year but over the next several years. I know after his injury vs Idaho State in 2011 when he officially declared his medical redshirt, he had a lot of thinking to do about his future at Washington State. He came to Pullman for a different Coach and is a long way from home in Florida in both distance and culture. I am sure I speak for all the fans and people surrounding Washington State in saying I’m glad he stayed and I’m positive he will see his career take off from there as he will be highlighted as a premeir defensive player in the Pac-12 and hopefully by the end of it all he will end up in the pros. Good luck in the future to the young man and GO COUGS!