ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Dan Monteroso is officially a Purdue Boilermaker.
The St. Clairsville senior signed his name on a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday morning, joining Coach Darrell Hazel's first class at Purdue.
"I signed the papers as early as I could and got them faxed to Purdue. It felt great as soon as I did it," Monteroso said. "I've been smiling all day. I'm just excited for the opportunity to have a chance to go make a name for myself (at Purdue)."
Dan Monteroso (front, center) signed his National Letter of Intent Wednesday. He’s flanked by his parents Cathy and Jeff. Behind are Principal Walt Skaggs, head football coach Brett McLean and Athletics Director Kelly Rine.
One of the most decorated receivers in Ohio Valley history becomes the first football player from a Belmont County school to sign with a FBS-level college since 2006 when Bellaire High product Nate Davis signed with Ball State University.
Monteroso's path to the Big Ten didn't surprise Red Devils' head coach Brett McLean, who could tell early on that he had something special.
"The kids who play at the Division I level stick out like a sore thumb," McLean said. "As a seventh and eighth grader, you could tell that he was just leaps and bounds ahead (of the other kids). He played varsity level immediately and to be able to have an impact on every single game made it pretty obvious."
The recruiting process really heated up for Monteroso last spring. He received several offers and took visits to Iowa and Boston College before committing to the Eagles in July.
With the recruiting process - or so he thought - behind him, Monteroso helped lead the Red Devils to a 14-1 record and the school's first trip to the state championship game.
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound playmaker caught 68 passes for 1,483 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was the Eastern District Player of the Year along with first-team all-OVAC, Buckeye 8, all-Valley and all-Times Leader. He was also named the Big 22 Ohio Valley Player of the Year in December.
"I think Dan's got that touch from a greater power to play," McLean said. "I've got total confidence in Dan. He's a very determined kid who is always willing to compete. I know he'll compete quickly to play and have an impact on their team."
Shortly after the end of the college season, Boston College fired its head coach and entire staff, hiring Steve Addazio.
However, Monteroso elected to open up his recruiting after the coaching staff change.
"I wasn't too comfortable with the coaching change at B.C.," Monteroso said.
After Hazel officially took over at Purdue, after leaving Kent State, he began recruiting Monteroso immediately.
"When Coach Hazel started recruiting me, I really felt comfortable," Monteroso said.
He took visits to Purdue and Maryland before offering a verbal commitment to the Boilermakers about two weeks ago.
Monteroso, who will take part in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game in Dayton in April, will report to West Lafayette in early June to begin summer classes and preparations for the 2013 season.
"I am going to go there and compete," Monteroso said. "I want to start as a freshman. Everywhere I've been, I've worked hard to play. I don't want to sit behind anyone, so my I am going to go to Purdue and do what I have to do to get to play."
Monteroso, currently the leader of the Red Devils' basketball team, admits he must work on his strength and speed to achieve his goals of early playing time for the Boilermakers.
"I have to get bigger and faster, but I also have to work on my route running and things like that," Monteroso said. "I'll spend the spring with my dad (Jeff), Matt (Kinnick) and my brother (Michael) will throw with me."
Until the spring, however, Monteroso's total focus lies with the Red Devils' basketball team and trying to make a run deep into March.
"We've really not had time to reflect on the football season because we went right into basketball," Monteroso said. "I am really excited to see what we can accomplish the rest of this basketball season. We've got a lot of goals ahead of us to work toward."
Monteroso, who is the son of Jeff and Cathy Monteroso, is undecided about his major.