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Benjamin Russell graduate Dylan Moncus, who is now a sophomore at Central Alabama Community College, recently committed to play golf at Samford. 

When student-athletes elect to attend a two-year school before heading to the four-year college of their choice, it’s typically to try to get them to the next level. Many think an extra two years at a junior college could get eventually get them to the Division I level.

It doesn’t always work that way, but that’s exactly what Benjamin Russell graduate Dylan Moncus has done.

Now in his second year at Central Alabama Community College, Moncus has grown exponentially as a golfer and he recently made a verbal commitment to play at Samford, a Division I program in Homewood.

“I feel like going to a JUCO helps you out a lot,” Moncus said. “It gives you time to learn and gives you the opportunity to play in tournaments. If you go straight to a Division I or a four-year school, you might not be playing until junior year. But going to CACC, I’ve gotten a lot of playing time and you can get good experience.”

After being part of the Trojan team that won the NJCAA Division II national championship a year ago, Moncus has slowly but surely started to emerge as the No. 1 golfer. In the first two tournaments for the Trojans this year, Moncus worked his way up. He finished the first one tied for third and during last week’s tournament, Moncus tied for second.

But what’s helped him more than just going to a junior college or being on such an esteemed golf program like CACC’s is Moncus simply putting his mind to it.

“It’s night and day from where he was two years ago,” Central Alabama coach Dave Jennings said. “He’s come 5,000 miles because of his work ethic. I think last year, he really learned how to win and that winning is kinda fun. A lot of guys get burned out and think, ‘Oh, I’ll take some time off,’ but Dylan didn’t do that. He really worked hard all through the summer.” 

Another benefit of going to CACC was Moncus having the opportunity to play under Jennings, who not only has a lot of skills to offer but also has a ton of contacts in the golf world. Moncus said Jennings was a huge asset in his recruiting process and he landed on Samford as his school of choice fairly early.

“After talking with my parents and going on a visit — the campus is amazing — I felt like Samford was the best option and the best fit,” Moncus said. “The golf program is good as well and academically Samford is really good. That played a big part in it because my education is a big thing.

“With coach Jennings being my coach, he helped me in every possible way. (Going to CACC) gave me a stepping stone to better my game. Coming out of high school, you may not be where you want to be to go Division I, but he gets you ready to play D-I golf and he makes you into the player you need to be.”

Moncus already had a lot to build on after graduating from Benjamin Russell in 2018, and he’ll be the first Wildcat golfer in more than two decades to advance to a Division I program.

“We’re extremely proud of him,” BRHS golf coach Wes Tate said. “He’s an ambassador everywhere he goes and he claims Benjamin Russell. Dylan was mature when he left here and he carried that with him.”

Moncus still has nearly an entire year of golf at CACC ahead of him and the Trojans have won two straight tournaments to start the year. He said his biggest focus being ready to play at the next level will be working on the mental aspect of the game. But once he gets to Samford, he’s excited to be a role model for future student-athletes who come out of Benjamin Russell and those who take the JUCO route.

“It feels really good to be honest,” Moncus said. “It shows that even coming from Benjamin Russell that you can still go D-I and do really well in sports. Coming from Alex City doesn’t mean you can’t do good things. I feel like it just says something about our community and everybody that’s helped me throughout my younger ages in bettering me.”

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.