AUSTIN _ Texas’ roster for the BCS National Championship Game expanded today by two players, when coach Mack Brown reinstated kickoff returner/tailback D.J. Monroe and safety Christian Scott was cleared academically to compete against Alabama.
Monroe, a redshirt freshman, has averaged 35.8 yards per return this season, with two touchdowns. But he has missed the Longhorns’ last three games after being suspended indefinitely following a Nov. 15 arrest for driving while intoxicated in Hays County, south of Austin.
The DWI charges were dropped last week. Brown said Monday that, after a Sunday discussion with Monroe, he considered a three-game suspension adequate punishment and decided Monroe “has a right to play in the national championship game” when No. 2 Texas (13-0) meets No. 1 Alabama (13-0), Jan. 7 in Pasadena, Calif. As a tailback, Monroe also has averaged 5.5 yards per carry in limited duty (20 carries, 110 yards).
Scott, a sophomore, was declared academically ineligible in August by the NCAA for failing to make satisfactory progress toward degree requirements. But he passed enough hours during the fall semester to regain his eligibility status. And, with the fall semester concluded, NCAA officials approved his appeal to play against Alabama.
Brown said Scott, who was in the mix to start during fall drills, is expected to contribute on special teams but coaches are “not sure how much involvement he can have” on defense after spending the season practicing with the scout team. Brown said Scott will play on all special-teams units except the field-goal and PAT protection units.
Scott (6-foot-1, 209 pounds) is considered one of the hardest hitters and top run defenders among the Longhorns’ defensive backs. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said Scott will practice at safety for the foreseeable future. Whether or not he takes the field against Alabama in that capacity “will depend on the next seven or eight practices,” Muschamp said.
_ Jimmy Burch