Sometimes leadership comes along when you least expect it, and for Fort Mill High junior JT Marr that was earlier this year during baseball season.
The 16-year-old Marr, then a sophomore, was placed in a leadership role with the Fort Mill varsity baseball team and situated behind the plate to catch during the most crucial time of the season — in the playoffs. Marr hit .423 in 10 games for Fort Mill as a sophomore, getting 11 hits and seven RBI for the season.
That 10-game stretch morphed starting job for Marr at quarterback for the Fort Mill football team this season. Marr entered the season in a quarterback battle with teammates Drew Hartman and Dylan Helms. Marr and others, particularly head coach Ed Susi and quarterback coach Eddie Therrell, said they believe his leadership during the baseball season helped him land the starting job.
“I think I earned their respect from a leadership aspect,” Marr said. “It is tough when you got two other quarterbacks you are competing with.”
Therrell said the team and coaches saw a lot in Marr over the summer as the quarterback battle heated up.
“He is a competitor,” Therrell said. “He is smart. He is taking things on. His leadership is beyond that of a junior.”
As a junior, Marr admitted there was a learning curve to overcome and he credits teammates for helping him along process.
“I feel real good at where we are at,” Marr said. “The seniors are helping me out. They pick me up when I need it and they have made me a better quarterback. You always have to remember they look at you. I have to keep my head up.”
Marr said he put in a lot of time studying film to pick up plays and different aspects of the position as quickly as possible.
“When I first got here, they threw a lot of new things at me,” he said.
Heading into last Friday’s game, Marr was 23 for 40 passing for 307 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Marr said he relishes the role of quarterback and knows that it is a leadership aspect of the sport that people look toward. However, he said football is a team sport and is about more than just the quarterback.
“I like the team bonding aspect of the sport,” he said. “It’s a brotherhood and a family atmosphere.”
Although the season is still young, Marr said he feels like this team is capable of big things this year.
“We can do great things if we play as a team,” he said.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM