Austin Monahan ’07 joins the lineup for the 2006 Football season at PA, promising to be a strong force on both offense and defense. This six-foot-six-inch Charlotte native brings his experience as a member of the North Carolina State Championship-winning team of 2004, as well as a starting tight-end for the NC team in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. With offers from several top-tier colleges, Monahan chose a post graduate year at Andover before playing college ball. In an interview with Monahan, Phillipian Sports finds out why. Phillipian Sports: How would you describe the football program at your previous school, Charlotte Country Day? Austin Monahan: Football was definitely the biggest sport, with a very competitive team. We were a small school of about 400 students, [but we were] beating 3A and 4A public schools. For twelve years before the 2005 season, we played in the State Championship game. Last year, we had [more] talent than any other [year] [of the 11 starters on defense, 9 play college ball, the other two play college lacrosse] but lacked the chemistry. We just couldn’t bring it together to make it to the finals, which was a pretty big disappointment. PS: What was your experience with the college recruiting process? AM: I visited eighteen different schools, some more than once. I looked to play football at each, but I wasn’t being recruited by all of them. I received offers from Elon, Duke and Vanderbilt. PS: What influenced your college decision? AM: It came down to Duke and Vanderbilt. I was looking for a strong combination of top-tier football with top academics. Even though I knew I could play sooner at Duke, I fell in love with the Vanderbilt campus and football facilities. I also liked that they are in the SEC, so I’ll be playing teams like Florida and LSU. I signed with Vanderbilt on February 1st. PS: What sparked your interest in a post-graduate year after you had already signed with a Division 1-A school? AM: At the beginning of the season, my coaches mentioned a PG year to become bigger, faster, [and] stronger. Still, I had been planning on college right after my senior year. Duke’s offer only stood if I chose to do a PG year, but offers from Vanderbilt and Elon remained with or without the extra year. I heard about PA through a family friend who attended. I flew up, loved it, and here I am. PS: What do you hope to gain this year? AM: Basically, another year of maturation in football, but also more academic opportunities. I could’ve chosen a football powerhouse, such as Fork Union, or Hargrave Military, who spit out fifteen D-1 signees a year, but again, I’m looking for the academic-athletic combination. I want to improve my writing, and I plan on taking courses like public speaking and economics. PS: What do you hope to contribute to this year’s team? AM: I’m aiming to be a major downfield threat and a strong presence on defense to open up more opportunities for the offense. As a receiver, I want to catch everything thrown my way. PS: Up to this point in the season, how does Andover’s football program compare with the team at Charlotte Country Day? AM: The practices are harder, and the players are better individually. At the same time, there is great chemistry on the team. Overall, I’m really excited. I want to win the New England Bowl. As no stranger to playoff success, Monahan will no doubt be a driving force in PA’s attempt to return to the NE Championship game. He looks to play tight-end and defensive-end. He is sure to be an incredible receiving threat, with more size and power than most of the secondary players in the league. Of course, this student will be pounding the books as well as the field in preparation for Vanderbilt University. Why did Austin opt for a PG year at Andover? Whether to improve his game, redeem himself from last year’s upset, or study up before college, we’re glad to have him.