Texas Longhorns tailback D.J. Monroe decided to delay his track career and focus solely on football this offseason. So far, the senior is enjoying his most productive season on the field.
Monroe has scored a touchdown in all four games this season, rushing for three and returning a kick 100 yards for a score against Oklahoma State last week. The fifth-year senior has seen his role increase after deciding to skip the indoor track season in the spring.
"I'm not going to call it a reward, but the coaches are pretty excited that I did decide not to go back to track and instead decided to come back and be a leader on this team," Monroe said. "That's more important than anything because I did come here to play football, but I run track."
Monroe was an All-Big 12 sprinter as a sophomore, so the decision was not easy. But his choice is paying dividends and offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin senses a different demeanor with Monroe this year.
"His decision, his commitment to us, that didn't change how we felt about him. I think it changed him from the standpoint that he had more time to prepare for football," Harsin said. "He had more time just focusing on football itself and that's showed."
Monroe has been efficient with his touches this season. He's touched the ball 14 times in four games (11 rushes, one catch, two kick returns) and scored four times.
"He'll find a way to make something happen," Harsin said. "He's run very determined in these four games we've played and he's been very effective. He's just being a senior leader."
And that's exactly what the Longhorns need with just nine scholarship seniors.
By Austin Laymance/Special to the Star-Telegram