Friday, June 1, 2012

Monette Taking Game to the Next Level

The breakout junior season that Ryan Monette had on the gridiron in 2011 for St. Thomas has been well documented. The 5-foot-8, 150 pound tailback rushed for 1,438 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on 166 carries, made 25 catches for 416 yards and four TD’s, plus on special teams he averaged 48 yards per return and scored two more TD’s on returns.  He was also a hard-hitting defensive back and was able to do all of that while leading the Saints to an undefeated championship season in Division V.

Monette is not satisfied however, as the Hampton, NH resident has been hard at work, trying to get even better in preparation for his senior season.

“I started working out with Darrin Nicoli at Next Level Sports Training this year after he moved his training facility to Hampton” Monette told the NH Notebook. “Right away it made a difference to further develop and add to what I had previously accomplished.”

Since there is no AAU, the main avenue for football players to gain exposure to colleges is through showcases and camps during the spring and summer.

“I attended the Blue Chip Invitational Football Combine by Dick Bell where I placed #1 in both the 40 yard dash with a time of 4.47 and the 20 yard shuttle with a time of 3.97” explained Monette. “I benched 8 reps of 185 lbs. and my vertical jump was 30.”

Nicoli is a certified athletic trainer. He is the owner of the Next Level Sports Training and is happy to see the results that his latest pupil has achieved.

“Ryan’s strength and explosiveness has increased dramatically since being here” said Nicoli. “He did the Combine Training I offered, and then at his first combine he killed it! He had his fastest 40 yd time and shuttle, and had the fastest times at the combine. Hard work and smart work do pay off.”

The Blue Chip Invitational is just the beginning of Monette’s busy spring/summer schedule.

“I will be attending the Eli Football Camp at Yale University as well as the New England Elite Football Clinic at Bentley University” Monette explained. “I have been invited to a few other camps and clinics but I am undecided about those at this moment.”

Monette aims to continue to get stronger and faster as he continues to work out with Nicoli.

“He has helped me to focus on more specific football training as well as specific weight training geared towards my position” said Monette. “An example of my weekly routine at Next Level is Monday - lower body, Wednesday - upper body and Friday - full body workout."

In addition to his workouts with Nicoli, Monette has also been working to become a better athlete in other ways as well.

“I have also been on a specific nutritional program that was designed for me by my strength and conditioning coach at STA, Ryan George” explained Monette. “The overall combination of these things has made me a more complete and physically fit football player and athlete.”

Monette also credits other trainers he has worked with for his success on the field.

“My training started years ago with Tom Evans at Victory Training in Hampton” said Monette. “There I developed and became a better athlete starting in sixth grade and learned to be disciplined and regimented in my weekly workouts. I got stronger, faster and became an overall better football player and athlete. I have also worked out at Max Edge in Hampton with focus on my cardio and overall body strength and conditioning.”

Monette’s high school coach Eric Cumba also knows a thing or two about taking your game to the next level. Cumba was a three-year starter on the offensive line at the University of New Hampshire and was a team captain as a senior.

“Ryan was obviously a very productive running back and had an outstanding season” said Coach Cumba, who coached the Saints to the D-V state title in just his first season as the program’s head coach. “As a coaching staff we learned pretty quickly that opposing defensive coordinators were going to do their best to limit Ryan's effect on a game. As we all saw, Ryan was still able to be very productive, especially when it mattered most in the playoffs, in being a crucial part of an undefeated state championship team.“

Monette is a running back who is small in height but has great speed and toughness. Cumba blocked for a back at UNH who also fit that description, in Chad Kackert. Kackert was an extremely dangerous weapon for the Wildcats. He was a big play threat with the ability to go for six every time he touched the football. If not for injuries he could have been one of the great backs UNH has had.

“I was fortunate enough to play a few years with Chad and I think Ryan and Chad are pretty different football players” observed Cumba. “The one common thing I see is the size in terms of height but they are built differently. Chad was very good straight ahead and running away from people whereas I think Ryan has better vision and elusiveness. The sky is the limit for Ryan and he'll have to continue working his tail off to maximize his potential going forward.”

Often times players down in the lower divisions of the NHIAA who have the kind of talent Monette has end up transferring to prep schools in order to face tougher competition and gain additional exposure. And with Monette being from Hampton, the option is also there to go to Winnacunnet High, which is in Division II.

“I am 100% returning to STA for my senior year” Monette announced. “I want to be with my teammates and classmates who I have been around for the last three years. In some cases I have gone to school with some of my friends since kindergarten. I have had inquiries by prep schools, but after some thought STA is the right place for me.”

The decision of whether to attend prep school is never an easy one, but there are a number of reasons he has decided to stay at St. Thomas.

“Besides my teammates and classmates one of the other main reasons that I am staying at STA is my coaches, specifically Coach Eric Cumba and Coach Dave Lopez” explained Monette. “Both of them have influenced me enormously. Coach Cumba is the best head coach that I could ask for. The system that he runs fits my style of play perfectly. I have learned so much from just being around him through his past experience of being a starter and captain at UNH. Coach Lopez, who is my position coach and also played at UNH has taught me what it means to be a complete football player, a complete running back and person. Prior to that Coach Shane Hutchings taught me the ropes on defense and special teams and helped me to develop as a player during my freshman and sophomore years. The rest of the staff is great too - young, aggressive and completely knowledgeable.”

Of course, Coach Cumba is happy to have Monette returning next season. St. Thomas is moving up to Division IV this season, and with offensive weapons like Scott Munroe, David Rogers and Andrew Kahr all graduating he will need to lean even more heavily on his star tailback.

“Next year Ryan steps into an even bigger leadership role as a captain and returning starter” Cumba remarked. “He will not only need to lead the team by production and effort on game days, but also be a leader in practice and set an example like no other to the rest of the football team. Although St. Thomas may be a new name in Division IV, Ryan Monette is not a new name to the state of New Hampshire so there will be no surprises for opposing teams on game day.”

Monette has certainly made a name for himself, and college coaches have already started to take notice of his ability.

“The recruitment process has been going great” Monette said. “I started to get interest from schools starting late last spring with invitations to various camps etc. Since then I've received a lot interest from most levels either in phone calls, emails or letters. The process is very exciting but a ton of work. My Dad has been there every step of the way helping to guide me through the process along with Coach Cumba. I have had a few schools visit me and I have visited several schools as well. I will continue that throughout the remainder of this year until I decide on the right school for me.”

Monette realizes how important the college decision is, so he is still keeping his options open for now.

“At this time I have not narrowed that down yet because it's too early in the process” explained Monette. “I hope to have a short list by the end of the summer. There are so many great schools located all over the country. The choices are overwhelming, but it's been a great experience so far.”

While Monette has made it clear that he’s attending St. Thomas next year, after that he could either go to college or there is also the option of a post-graduate year at a prep school.

“I may consider doing a PG year after I graduate from STA to grow even more as a person” Monette concluded. “My grades are very good, so I would use it as a development year. My first choice at this point though is to go straight to college."

There’s no question that Monette has a good head on his shoulders. And as he continues to work with Nicoli and Cumba his recruitment should only pick up over the next few months.

“In order for Ryan to take his game to the next level he needs to work to separate himself from the rest of the pack and I fully expect him to keep improving himself” commented Cumba. “One thing I have learned in my experience around recruiting and college football is that coaches look at a kid and they try to decide whether a kid is ‘A Guy’ or is he ‘The Guy’. This fall will be key for Ryan to show everyone he is ‘The Guy’ and build on his success of last season. Ryan also needs to continue to work equally as hard in the classroom. He has a chance to use football as a ticket to get himself an outstanding education at some pretty impressive colleges and universities. If he can continue to mold himself into the ‘complete package’ only good things can and will happen for him.”

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