BOARDMAN - Boardman senior Marcus Smith spent last season taking some snaps under center and playing backup to Darius Sanders.
Smith, who carries a 3.5 GPA and wants to major in architecture in college, intends to construct his path to success this year with the Spartans after seeing Boardman go 1-9 last season.
Smith is doing more than designing his game plan, he's laying Boardman's foundation.
"This year, he came up with an attitude that he was going to be the guy," Boardman coach Joe Ignazio said. "You see him with our younger quarterbacks behind the scenes. He's always in the huddle coaching them up. I've been really impressed about his leadership, making sure our guys were aligned correctly. You'll see him pull our wide receivers in, make sure they're running the correct routes before we break out of the huddle, sometimes after we break out of the huddle.
"The big thing I'm impressed with him is his willingness to lead his teammates."
Cutting down on the turnovers will be first and foremost for the 6-foot-1, 170-pound quarterback, who is getting looks from Thiel and Washington & Jefferson.
He has to be more selective on his throws, considering the Spartans open up at home against Mentor, at Cardinal Mooney and at home against Poland the first three weeks. Mentor and Cardinal Mooney were state runners-up last season in Divisions I and IV.
"I had to read coverages a lot better and know where I wanted to go with the ball and be able to go to that second or third guy, not sticking with one guy," Smith said.
Smith, who also starts at cornerback, has the potential to play different positions at the next level. Ignazio said he could foresee Smith going as a quarterback or a wide receiver in college.
"He's the type of kid you want leading your football team on the offensive and defensive side of the ball," Ignazio said.
Before college, the Boardman senior signal caller has to take care of business with the Spartans.
Considering Smith is a scholar-athlete in every sense of the word, he shouldn't have a problem adjusting to taking the reins of the Spartans offense.
"As coach always said, it's a mental game - 90 percent mental. Having a high GPA will make me learn more and take my studying skills from the classroom to the playbook," Smith said.