Tuesday, August 28, 2001
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

Monroe Reinstated to Football Team

A little more than a year after pleading guilty to a felony charge of cocaine possession, defensive lineman Derrius Monroe has been reinstated to the Virginia Tech football team. The announcement was made by the Virginia Tech Athletic Department today in a news release on hokiesportsinfo.com.

Circuit Court Judge Ray Grubbs dismissed Monroe's drug charges Monday in Montgomery County Court. Monroe pled guilty August 4, 2000 to felony cocaine possession, a reduced charge from an original charge of cocaine distribution. At the time, Grubbs deferred judgment in the case for a two-year period. During that period, Monroe was put on probation, had to perform 100 hours of community service, underwent substance-abuse assessment, and had to stay alcohol and drug free.

Monroe met all conditions, and Grubbs released him from his probation a year earlier than scheduled. The charges and Monroe's guilty plea are now wiped from his record, which is clean. In addition, Monroe graduated in four years time from Virginia Tech. He completed his coursework requirements and earned his degree in second summer session this year.

Monroe entered the VT football program as a partial qualifier in 1997, meaning that he could not play for the first year and would only have three years of eligibility. But by graduating within four years, Monroe has earned an additional season of eligibility under NCAA guidelines, making him eligible to play a final season this year.

Virginia Tech's Comprehensive Action Plan, or CAP, outlines standards of behavior for VT student athletes, as well as policies for dealing with those who break those standards. In the "Recommendations" section, under "Felony Charge," the CAP notes:

"Any student-athlete arrested and charged with a felony, or with a crime involving gambling or game fixing under Virginia law or any other jurisdictional equivalent, shall be suspended automatically from practice and playing privileges until the charges are dropped, dismissed or otherwise resolved."

Also in the Recommendations section, under "Felony Conviction," the CAP specifies:

"Any student-athlete convicted of or pleading guilty or no contest to a felony charge or a game fixing charge under Virginia law or any other jurisdictional equivalent shall be permanently dismissed from the team."

Monroe was automatically suspended when charges were first filed against him in 2000, but after pleading guilty to possession and given a deferred conviction, Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Jim Weaver determined that Monroe's situation should be classified as "otherwise resolved," and he announced on August 18, 2000 that Monroe would be able to rejoin the team for practices, but not games. Weaver explained his decision on the August 21, 2000 edition of the Hokie Hotline radio show, saying that he didn't care if Monroe played again, but that it was best to allow him to get his degree. Monroe was scheduled to met every week with Weaver and an academic advisor during his probation.

Monroe returns to a team that is extremely deep on the defensive line. Tech has two experienced players at all four defensive line positions.

Depth Chart Changes for UConn

As this Saturday's UConn game approaches, the depth chart released by Virginia Tech Monday for the game had a few surprises on it.

Shawn Witten, almost a forgotten man at the wide receiver position, has been moved from Flanker to Split End and will start the UConn game over Emmett Johnson. This isn't a slight to Johnson; he can't go because of a strained quadriceps muscle. He is listed as the backup Split End. It is interesting to note that Witten displaces Ernest Wilford and Ron Moody to move into the #1 slot.

In news that should get Hokie fans buzzing, Kevin Jones is currently listed at #2 on the tailback depth chart, due to injuries that have slowed down Keith Burnell and Wayne Ward.

There are no other surprises on offense, but over on defense, Deon Provitt will take over for the injured T.J. Jackson (strained hamstring) at the whip linebacker spot. This is probably a wash, because neither player has started at the position before, and neither one stood out over the other in the spring and fall. Physically, they are very similar; both are 6-1, with Provitt weighing 207 and Jackson 210, and they put up very similar numbers in the Hokies' strength and conditioning programs.

Of course, as the week wears on and the coaches get to evaluate how the injured players are doing, some of these depth chart changes, which were included in VT's official game notes for UConn, may change. Later this week, TSL will have a UConn game preview, including a downloadable roster card with starting lineups printed on it.

Redshirt Decisions

Since the last update on redshirts for the freshman class, some changes have been made. Previously, it was known that QB Bryan Randall, RB Kevin Jones, and CB DeAngelo Hall would not redshirt.

Since then, freshman James Miller has beaten out fellow freshman Will Montgomery for the backup spot at offensive right guard, and Miller will not redshirt. Montgomery will redshirt, barring an injury situation.

A fifth freshman non-redshirt was added to the list in the last week: true freshman offensive tackle Curtis Bradley (6-2, 300) will figure into the rotation at Left Tackle, behind Anthony Davis. Bradley is not listed in the official VT two-deep (Tim Selmon is shown as backing up Davis), but on BeamerBall.com, Bradley is shown as the #2 LT.

In freshman testing, Bradley logged the slowest 40 time (5.43) of all 22 freshmen who were tested, but he did put up the third-highest bench press at 340 pounds (in a tie with Kevin Jones, it should be noted). So he has some work to do on his speed, but his strength is good enough that the coaches are going to play him.

Meanwhile, in a surprise move, sophomore DT Kevin Lewis will redshirt. Lewis was a member of the 1999 recruiting class who enrolled in January of 2000, went through spring 2000 practice, and played 125 snaps last year. But this season, he is lost in a depth chart that features four seniors at defensive tackle: Chad Beasley, David Pugh, Channing Reed, and Dan Wilkinson.

Coach Beamer said that the decision was Lewis's, and that it was a smart move. Unless injuries among the other four tackles force him to take off the redshirt, Lewis, who is 21 years old, will enter his redshirt senior season in 2004 at 24 years of age ... 24 and a half, to be precise. A strength and conditioning marvel at 6-1, 280, Lewis's already-bulging biceps will be massive by the time he finishes his career at Tech.

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