ALBANY -- Justin Pride was more than a quarterback for Monroe High, more than a strong-armed passer, more than just a leader.
"He was like an extension of a coach, like having another coach on the field,'' Monroe football coach Charles Truitt said.
Bright, articulate and versatile, Pride is now leaving Monroe for a new life in Atlanta at Morehouse College, where he plans on being a pre-med student while playing quarterback.
Pride signed a letter-of-intent Wednesday morning at Monroe amid friends and family, including his mother Sonja, and father, Ernest.
"It's a great school,'' said Pride, who has a 4.1 GPA. "I know the chances of making it to the NFL are slim. I'm going to Morehouse to have a future.''
Pride. a two-year starter, led Monroe to a 7-5 record and berth in the playoffs, and completed 76 of 160 passes for 1,178 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior.
"He's a great kid, and a leader on the football field,'' Truitt said. "We had 17 seniors this year, and they were a great group of seniors. He was their leader. And he is a true student athlete.''
Pride. 5-foot-10 and 185-pounds, started playing football when he was 6, and by the time he was 10 he was thinking about getting a scholarship to college.
"I started out as running back and then they put me at quarterback when I was 7 and I just stayed with it,'' Pride said. "My goal has always been to get a college scholarship. I started thinking about it when I was in fifth grade.''