July 5, 2010

Jersey RB has UConn on wish list

When it comes to production, few running backs can match West Orange (N.J.) Seton Hall Prep's Kevin Monangai. However, Monangai continues to wait for his first scholarship offer, despite posting impressive numbers in consecutive seasons.

As a sophomore, Monangai rushed for 1,137 yards and 17 touchdowns, putting himself on the radar of a number of big time schools. He responded with 1,083 yards and 17 scores as a junior, but was bothered by a mid-season ankle injury which appears to have scared some teams away.

"Yeah, I would say [the ankle injury] is probably the main reason," Monangai said of his lack of scholarship offers. "I was really on a roll before I got hurt. I think I had the most yards in the state. I was shooting for at least 1,500 yards, but that kind of slowed me down and I never got back up to full speed."

Now Monangai is out to show what he can do.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound prospect visited Connecticut during the first week of June, along with his cousin, Kevin Ijoma, who is also being recruited by UConn as a defensive back. Overall, it was a positive experience.

"The campus is beautiful and the facilities are top notch," said Monangai. "The coaching staff is very personable. [Running backs coach] Terry Richardson is a fun-loving guy, which is right up my alley. I really like UConn right now."

Monangai has also visited Boston College, Syracuse and Penn State, while garnering plenty of interest at the Division I-AA level from schools like James Madison and Villanova, but UConn remains among his favorites.

"They're definitely in my top five," said Monangai. "I haven't exactly narrowed down a list. I'm still looking at some Division I-AA schools in July."

UConn has placed a number of players in the NFL in recent years, including running back Donald Brown, who was selected 27th overall by the Indianapolis Colts last season. Monangai believes this helps give UConn an edge in the recruitment process.

"Definitely," said Monangai. "It just shows that they know what they're doing up there and that if you work hard and buy into their program you can possibly make it to the league."

For the time being, Monangai is focused on securing his first scholarship offer, and would like to put any lingering questions about his ankle to rest.

"I'm 100 percent now," said Monangai. "I'm ready to go back and do what I need to do this season."

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