After a prosperous visit to Tulane this past weekend, SportsNola.com has learned that East St. John star Darion Monroe has switched his commitment to Tulane from Texas A&M. Wildcats Head Coach Phil Banko confirmed the change.
"Darion will stay home and play for the Green Wave," said Banko. "He and his mom are very comfortable and solid with the decision. He really enjoyed his visit and liked the coaches at Tulane."
Banko, a former Miami assistant, feels that Monroe may become the start of something big for Tulane's football future in recruiting.
"The only way Tulane is ever going to become a Top 25 program is to get kids like Darion Monroe," said Banko. "When I was at Miami, Clinton Portis, Najeh Davenport, Vernon Davis, William Joseph, Sean Taylor, Ed Reed of Destrehan came. That changed everything and you know what kind of power Miami became nationally."
Banko says that the Hurricanes had a strategy to lock down south Florida and it worked.
"We drew the line with that staff," Banko said. "Curtis Johnson was part of that staff. We drew the line from Fort Lauderdale to Key West and tried to lock that entire area up for Miami. Tulane must do the same thing. Darion will be a marquee kid for the Green Wave."
Banko says Monroe felt at home on the uptown campus.
"He felt very comfortable at Tulane," said Banko. "When Mike Sherman was at Texas A&M, Tulane would not have had a shot. When he left, it changed everything."
Banko is bullish on the prospects for Tulane having success in football under Johnson.
"Curtis will succeed at Tulane," Banko said. "He is a marvelous recruiter. He will lead that program in a new direction that it needs to go. It will be great for the community to have Tulane become good in football. I know Curtis personally. I worked with him. He will get it turned it around."
While Banko is happy that he will get to see Monroe play in New Orleans, he did not steer him to Tulane.
"I don't tell kids where to go," said Banko. "Darion will graduate from Tulane. That degree will clearly help him down the line. He has the grades and the aptitude. He feels he can make a mark on the program as a cornerback and kick return specialist."
Just how good will Monroe become at Tulane?
"I don't think there is a better corner in Louisiana," Banko claims. "He had eight interceptions for us even though he was our quarterback and our heart and soul on offense at quarterback. He has as good of feet as anyone I've seen coming out of high school. He is a smart player. He will have a chance to play early. He has goals. I am happy that his friends, our school family and his family will get to see him at home. We are excited about it."
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