David Lalaian had one of the more pivotal catches for the 2021 season so far in 3A. Going against our previously #1 team in Oconee County, Monroe Area found themselves tied 7 all at halftime.
Then at the start of the 3rd quarter, Monroe Area got their big break with a turnover on the kickoff, and shortly after they found the senior in the back of the endzone. The ball’s path to Lalaian was not exactly premeditated, and it originally was tipped, but the heady senior was able to adjust to the football while keeping his feet just in bounds for the monumental score.
The touchdown gave Monroe Area a 14-7 lead, and ultimately the Hurricanes ended up winning 17-14 over the reigning 3A state champions. The victory has certainly changed the pecking order not just in the region, but also in the state rankings where Monroe Area is sitting at #2 with an 8-0 record.
The senior’s catch will go down in Monroe Area history, and one that will be remembered for many years. Lalaian is now focused on finishing the season strong, with the added caveat that it could also bolster his recruitment.
“As a team, my goal is for us to finish out the remainder of the season undefeated and go 10-0, then head to the playoffs to win a State Championship. I hope that our team’s success helps bring more attention to me as a football prospect at the next level. A personal goal would be to sign to play football and further my career after high school,” he said.
His recruitment has been interesting. We really didn’t start to see his name pop up until the latter half of the summer and into this season. A 6’3″ 220 lbs. tight end prospect who is a good athlete (33″ vertical!) and sure hands – how could this be?
“I transferred from a small private school (George Walton Academy), where I played out of position at both interior offensive and defensive line, due to our lack of team size. My natural position is tight end, which I was never able to play in high school until I made the move over to Monroe Area for my senior year,” the senior said.
He continued to talk more about the state of his recruitment, “My recruitment has been slowly starting to pick up. We are now 8-0, just beat a #1 Oconee County, and I was named player of the game/week by two different outlets for my effort. The exposure I have recently received has caused some eyes to open, and I know greater things lie ahead for me.”
Lalaian has received some college interest, but a lot of the schools are too far away for him to travel during the season, but is hoping for some additional invites to be coming soon.
“Any team that gets me is getting a physical, skilled athlete with great hands and smart balls skills,” he stated.
His origins are certainly curious, which explains why a tight end prospect could be hidden playing in Class A private as a 6’3″ interior lineman. With the latest film we have seen, it seems like only a matter of time before more local programs take an interest in the 2022 recruit.
For now, Lalaian is just waiting for more programs to take notice. He has definitely put in a lot of work over the last year, and that kind of progression is noteworthy for how a player might grow at the college level.
“Since the beginning of my Junior year, I have grown an inch and gained 35 lbs of muscle. That, along with the improvement of my route-running skills and learned physicality, has helped me greatly as a player.”
We are just a few weeks away from what many call the 2nd season here in the state of Georgia, ie the playoffs, so we asked the senior to reflect back on what he loves the most playing on Friday nights.
“My favorite thing about Friday nights is seeing our community come together and support all of us on the field. I also love being out there with my brothers and our coaches…. We are family,” he proclaimed.
There is no doubt that Monroe Area should be taken seriously. Seniors like Lalaian have been instrumental in their resurgence (got to shoutout senior QB Selation Straughter real quick making a great comeback from a knee injury) and they have certainly created new expectations around the program. Can they win a state title in 2021? Well, follow @RecruitGeorgia on Twitter to see how it all breaks, including the recruitment of their talented senior tight end David Lalaian and more athletes across the state of Georgia.