University of Maine wide receiver Michael Monios scores a touchdown in UMaine's home opener against the University of Delaware at Morse Field in Orono, Maine. UMaine lost 34-24. Credit: Courtesy of UMaine Athletics Credit: Courtesy of UMaine Athletics

When University of Maine wide receiver Michael Monios was in eighth grade, he attended Boston College’s summer football camp, where current UMaine head coach Nick Charlton was working as an assistant at the time.

One thing stood out about Monios right away: he wore an orange helmet. And he impressed Charlton.

The Montreal, Quebec, native returned to the same BC camp in the following years, and went on to attend Choate Rosemary Hall, one of New England’s most prestigious prep schools. When Charlton recruited Monios, their established relationship made it an easy decision.

After seeing limited play the two previous seasons, Monios made his presence known in the season-opening 34-24 loss to No. 5 Delaware last Thursday as he made four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown and blocked a punt that was scooped up by Montigo Moss and returned for a touchdown. Charlton said Monios will only continue to improve as he gets stronger.

“He has very good feet and he knows how to get open. Now it’s all about developing his body,” Charlton said.

Monios appeared in four games in 2019, primarily on special teams. He didn’t lose a year of eligibility because NCAA rules allow freshmen to play four games without losing a year of eligibility.

In this past spring’s abbreviated four-game season, he was third on the team in receptions with eight and fourth in receiving yards with 87.

“He has excellent hands and is a very good route-runner,” Chalton said. “And he is a tireless worker on and off the field.”

Monios, who is 5-10, 185 pounds, said he studied undersized NFL receivers Antonio Brown (5-10) and Wes Welker (5-9) to see what made them so successful.

He said he “focused on their technique” and how they adapted to specific coverages.

“I’m not the biggest guy or the fastest guy so I have to watch a lot of film,” Monios said. “I feel like I have come a long way. But I have to keep working on my technique.”

Growing up in Canada, Monios played both hockey and football. But he decided to forego a hockey career in favor of football and attended Choate Rosemary Hall, where he had to adapt to American football, which has different rules than Canadian football.

His father, Tom, played in the Canadian Football League.

Canadian football fields are longer and wider, you have three downs in which to pick up a first down rather than four, and Canadian football rules allow several players to be in motion when the ball is snapped instead of just one.

“It was really hard to grasp at first,” Monios said.

Monios adapted and had an outstanding career for one of New England’s best prep school programs.

Now Monios is enjoying life in Orono, calling it his “second home.”

He was encouraged by the team’s performance against Delaware and is looking forward to Saturday’s 4 p.m. game against No. 3 James Madison.

“We know we could have won the game. Delaware has a very good defense but we were able to move the ball on them,” said the finance major.

“We’ll be ready for the challenge at James Madison.”