Ayron Monroe got a lot out of his time at Penn State while earning his degree, but the football experience fell short of expectations. That’s why he landed this summer at Temple as a graduate transfer.
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Monroe is battling for a starting spot at safety, where he is one of four candidates who have separated themselves for the two spots, according to coach Rod Carey.
Heading up the group is senior Benny Walls, who made nine starts last year. The others are redshirt junior Keyvone Bruton and sophomore DaeSean Winston.
Monroe will have a chance to start, but even if he doesn’t, he has the opportunity to see ample playing time. At Penn State he never made a single start and spent most of his time on special teams.
“I didn’t have the season I wanted to have last year,” Monroe said after practice Friday. “I felt if I stayed there, I wouldn’t have the season I wanted to have coming forward.”
After redshirting his first year, Monroe appeared in 33 games, making 40 career tackles at Penn State.
“I had already graduated and felt like it was time for me to move on, not just in the football aspect of my life but as a man,” he said.
Still, the chance to see the field more was a main factor, as it is in many instances of transferring. He admitted the obvious, that not being a regular at Penn State was difficult.
“Going to Penn State and not playing as much as I wanted to was definitely hard for me, but it is like anything, you have to overcome and persevere,” Monroe said.
Carey said that in addition to playing safety, Monroe should have a key role on special teams.
For somebody who didn’t have the benefit of spring practice, Monroe has picked things up quickly, said Carey.
“He has natural ability,” Carey said. “He has loose hips, speed, he communicates well.”
Besides more playing time, Monroe has tried to help the younger players.
I want to bring leadership and a standard of work ethic that the young guys can follow,” he said.
Injury at practice
Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Griffin Sestili was taken to the hospital after he collapsed while off to the side. “We got to him and I do know his extremities were moving and that our protocol says to be extremely cautious with that,” Carey said.
The paramedics were called and practice was delayed about 25 minutes until Sestili was taken away by ambulance.
“The paramedics let him sit up, so he was good that way, he was responsive, he was talking to me, and now he is over at the hospital and the update I got is that he was getting tests,” Carey said.
Later, a team official said Sestili was released from the hospital, won’t practice Saturday, and will be day-to-day.
Redshirt junior running back Tyliek Raynor, who was suspended in March, is back with the Owls but is not yet practicing, Carey said.
While Carey would not reveal the reason for the suspension, he said, “We support him, we got him, and we are looking forward to take that next step with him.”
When asked when Raynor may return to practice, Carey said, “It could be soon, it could be later. Right now we are taking the first steps forward on getting him back.”