Saturday, November 8, 2008

Senior Spotlight: Atlantic Coast Conference


LB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest

This Demon Deacon displayed his playmaking skills as a freshman, breaking into the backfield, knocking down passes and even blocking a punt. Aaron Curry has played in every game since his red-shirt freshman season, placing him among the most experienced players in the country with 45 career starts on his resume. At 6’3” and 247 pounds, Curry possesses prototypical size and length. His size and wingspan allow him to do battle on the line of scrimmage and while he hasn’t matched his three interception returns for touchdowns (226 return yards) of last season, this senior linebacker remains one of the nation’s top playmakers. The North Carolina native leads Wake Forest with 72 tackles, which ranks him third in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Demon Deacon’s nine tackles for a loss leads the team and ranks him among the league leaders in the conference. He has 1.5 sacks, one interception, two passes defended and one fumble recovery. Curry can cover and when asked, rush the passer. He is at his best with all of the action in front of him and when he is able to attack straight ahead, as he possesses exceptional straight-line speed. He has a good head on his shoulders, deciding to attend Wake Forest due in part to their academic prowess. Curry is the complete package.

2008: 72 Tackles, 1.5 Sacks, One Interception

OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia

The New Jersey product has prototypical length and bulk for a left tackle, checking in at 6’6” and 315 pounds, with a very strong base. His long arms allow him to excel in pass protection. He also regularly records knockdown blocks, displaying the ability to dominate the opposition. Monroe has excellent footwork and a great understanding of positioning, which allows him to maintain his balance. Monroe is known for playing hard and he is also an above average natural athlete. He does need to be a little bit more aggressive and attack defenders rather than waiting for them to come to him. He also must do a better job of maintaining his blocks. As a run blocker, there are some questions regarding his speed heading up-field and his agility when asked to go after linebackers, which is something to watch for this Saturday. Many wondered why 2007 first round pick Branden Albert (Kansas City Chiefs) played guard instead of tackle? The reason was Monroe, who was handling left tackle just fine, often grading out as the Cavs’ top lineman, which has carried over into his senior campaign. He possesses prototypical size and if he can improve his strength/technique, he could follow in Albert’s footsteps. Monroe is a surefire All-ACC selection and he should be an All-America candidate.

2008: Virginia 10 Sacks Against (Loss of 89 yards)


Short and stout, he's the prototypical inside clogger who can eat up space. He has bulk, girth, and plays with a chip on his shoulder. With B. J. Raji manning the middle it should come as no surprise that the Boston College Eagles possess the ACC’s second best run defense, allowing a mere 106.2 yards game and 3.2 yards per carry. Despite his size (334 lbs), Raji is agile enough to get into the backfield and cause disruption, which is why he strengthened the Eagles’ defensive unit up front with his return. His strength is playing against the run but he has displayed some flashes as a pass rusher. Of his six tackles for a loss, four are sacks, to go along with two quarterback hurries. When he doesn’t get all the way to the quarterback, Raji gets his hands up (three pass breakups). Raji is a sure tackler and possesses good instincts and awareness.


Photo Credit: Brian Westerholt of Sports on Film (Wake Forest)