Dan Monteroso loves to compete.
Whether it was on the football field, basketball court or in a game of checkers, the St. Clairsville graduate battled until the very end.
That's what made the first five games of the Purdue football season so difficult for Monteroso to watch.
The Boilermakers' true frosh has been itching to get onto the field and do anything he can to help his teammates improve on the one victory they've attained thus far.
Had it not been for a broken collarbone during training camp in August, Monteroso probably would have been on the field long ago in West Lafayette.
Unfortunately, the injury had relegated the all-Ohioan into nothing but a spectator.
That all changes on Saturday when the Boilermakers welcome Nebraska for their second Big Ten Conference game of the season.
Monteroso has been cleared medically and as the 1-4 Boilermakers seek a spark and bodies due to suspensions, first-year head coach Darrell Hazel is going to utilize the St. C. product on Saturday. Not only is Monteroso going to play, but Hazel announced on his weekly radio show that Monteroso would be in the starting lineup. Earlier in the week, he had been listed on the Boilermakers' depth chart along with Danny Anthrop with the word 'or' separating them.
"It feels great to be back," Monteroso said during a phone interview earlier this week. "It's been a rough several weeks, especially with how we've struggled, but I've tried my best to stay positive and help the guys in any way I could."
Monteroso was injured during drills as he went up to make a catch and simply landed on his shoulder. He's been on the shelf ever since.
"The rehab went well," Monteroso said. "A lot of it was just resting and letting the broken bone heal."
Lifting was a major part of the rehab and the results are evident. Monteroso reported he's now up to 202 pounds, which is quite a big bigger than he carried himself during his prep days.
"I would lift early in the morning and rehab with the training staff," Monteroso said. "I've put on a lot of weight and I did a lot of speed and drills, so I've not lost any quickness or anything."
On top of staying sharp physically, Monteroso kept his nose in his playbook and was constantly studying film and taking part in the receiver meetings.
"I watched film in high school, but not anything close to what I watch now," Monteroso admitted. "I watch before practice, after practice and at night."
Tonight, when the Boilermakers head to their hotel for the evening, figures to provide a little bit of emotion for Monteroso, who hasn't played in a competitive game since the Ohio North-South All-Star Football Game in April.
"I've not slept well this week waiting for this, but I am not going to lie ... I'll be nervous," Monteroso admitted. "But, once I get on the field, It'll be just another game. Once the lights come on, I become a different person."
With the Boilermakers struggling, there was a thought that Monteroso may redshirt this season, but it got to the point where he wasn't only healthy, but needed.
"All along, the coaches were talking about taking it day-by-day and the team needs me, so I am going out there looking to make some plays," Monteroso said.
Monteroso reported to Purdue in June and began summer classes. He was highly impressive during summer workouts and appeared to be on his way to earning playing time as a true frosh.
"It was nice getting here early in the summer, start classes and really get into the swing of things," Monteroso said. "
The Monteroso family will be quite busy on Saturday.
On top of Dan's game against the Cornhuskers, his younger brother, Michael, is the starting quarterback at St. Clairsville and it plays at Bellaire on Saturday. Meanwhile, their father, Jeff, is the defensive coordinator at West Liberty and it plays at Fairmont State on Saturday.
So what's that mean for his mom, Cathy and sister, Claire?
"I think my mom is coming to my game, someone's taking my sister to Mike's game and no one is going to be at my dad's game," Monteroso laughed.
MONTEROSO WON'T be the only former Ohio Valley standout wide receiver in the stadium on Saturday. Bellaire High product Joey Galloway will be on hand to provide the color analysis for ESPN.
MONTEROSO, who said the atmosphere was "unreal" for the Notre Dame game last month, will make his first road trip next week to Michigan State. The Boilermakers then return home to play Ohio State on Nov. 2.