Devion Smith once passed John Marshall football coach Bruce Troxell in the hallway of the school, and as he did, Smith pointed at Troxell and told him he'd be his starting quarterback one day.
Smith was a tiny sixth-grader at the time.
Now, he's a junior and he's going into his third year quarterbacking the Bears. And that little sixth-grader has grown up, standing 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds.
But more importantly, he has grown up as a quarterback, with hopes of taking the next step in his third season.
“I feel a lot more comfortable now,” said Smith, a dual-threat quarterback. “We haven't been too successful the last couple years, but we have a good group of guys, and I think we can go to the playoffs this year.”
The offense will try to spread the field a little more, but the run game is still the primary focus.
With experienced players all over the field, there's an excitement buzzing through practice for the Bears that hasn't always been there the last couple years.
“The young guys are bugging you to get into practice, because they want to be out there with the first unit,” Troxell said. “They see we're having success, and our practices are real spirited. It's some of the best young talent I've been around as a coach. I'm excited about this year, and I'm also excited about the future.”
Sophomore Kaelon Love anchors the defense at linebacker, where he was one of the team's top tacklers.
“Most of the starters are sophomores and juniors, and we all played as freshmen and sophomores last year,” Smith said. “So we're a lot more ready to play this year.”