J'Mari Monette relishing in leadership role for ASH football
As Alexandria Senior High’s defensive leader, J’Mari Monette is supposed to help right the ship whenever things do not go as planned.
After the Trojans (6-1, 1-1 2-5A) suffered their first loss in Week 6 to West Monroe, they regrouped for a 42-7 victory over Pineville (2-5, 0-2) in the Red River Rivalry on Thursday at J.L. “Butch” Stoker Stadium.
“He’s a leader,” ASH senior running back Jarvis Newton said. “He sets the pace for this team.”
As a 6-foot-4, 266-pound versatile defensive lineman who can play either end or tackle, Monette leads a unit that is allowing an average of 15.4 points over the last five games.
He realizes that everything he does, he must lead by example.
“Being a leader is challenging with all the young pups, and it has its pros and cons,” Monette said. “I like it because I was once in these young pups’ spots looking up to my leaders.”
His first two years with the Trojans, he sat behind current LSU defensive lineman Jacobian Guillory, who was the first player in school history to play in the All-American Bowl.
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“People have to understand that as a freshman and sophomore, he didn’t touch the field a whole lot,” ASH coach Thomas Bachman said. “But he worked while he waited and turned himself into a player.”
“I was a scrub, I’m not gonna lie,” Monette said. “Everything progressed. I worked day-in and day-out, doing what I was told. You have to want to get better to be better.”
With the Trojans losing a lot of seniors from their 2019 team, Monette earned a starting spot and helped the Trojans reach the LHSAA Prep Classic, where they lost to Acadiana in the Class 5A championship game.
Monette made the All-District 2-5A first team after recording 48 tackles and a sack.
“Over the course of last year, he really started showing the player that he could be,” Bachman said. “Through that playoff run, he played so well and lot of playing and practicing hard every single day started to pay off. A lot of rewards came with it and as long as he stays on that track, the ability’s there. He’s only scratching the surface of the player that he has the potential to be.”
As with senior receiver TJ Johnson, ASH’s run to the title game accelerated Monette’s recruitment.
Several schools remain in contact with him, such as Tulane, Indiana, Baylor and Kansas. While he has yet to commit, he is enjoying the process.
“Recruiting has been amazing,” Monette said. “It’s opened new doors. They send mail and give me advice. It’s always a blessing.”
While he continues to talk to schools, his primary goal is leading the Trojans to the title they were so close to winning last season.
“We have to keep playing with an edge and have that grit about us and have that dog in us,” Monette said. “At ASH, if you do what they tell you to do, you’re going to make it all the way with this program. If we follow the blueprint, we’re going to make it to the Dome again.”