Features | Friday Night Drive

Marist’s Dermot Smyth ready to take over as starting quarterback

Marist's Dermot Smyth will become his team's starting quarterback after serving as a backup the last couple of years.

Dermot Smyth is ready to take over at quarterback for Marist.

After spending the last couple seasons as a backup and scout quarterback, the senior will show off what he learned and become one of the RedHawks’ offensive leaders.

“He’s very, very talented,” head coach Ron Dawczak said. “He’s a guy that leads by example, he’s one of the hardest workers, pound for pound one of our strongest players. The work that he put in as our scout team quarterback is really showing as he’s taking over the reins of the offense.”

Smyth takes over after Dontrell Jackson Jr. graduated and is now in the Coast Carolina program. Jackson had spent part of the last three seasons at quarterback and finished last season with 2,310 passing yards and 27 touchdowns along with 473 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Jackson earned CCL/ESCC Blue All-Conference and Illinois High School Football Coaches Association 8A Honorable Mention All-State honors.

Smyth spent most of last season at wide receiver and finished fourth on the team with 22 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns. The senior completed six passes last year on eight attempts for 35 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Smyth spent most of the last two seasons learning the playbook and watching how Jackson approached different situations. He faced Marist’s tough defense every day as the scout team quarterback and is now ready to take his next step.

“I’m having to take a bigger leadership role this year, just being louder,” Smyth said. “It’s been a bit of a change, but I’m just trying my best to be the best leader that I can be.”

Smyth will have a big lead receiver as a main target this season in senior Ryan Sims. The Miami (Ohio) commit has played with Smyth since the two arrived at Marist as freshmen and their familiarity with each other will help the new quarterback throughout the season.

Senior wide receiver Mike Donegan has impressed with his routes in camp and Smyth believes he’s built a strong relationship with his crew.

“It’s a huge thing,” Sims said. “Every time I get out on the field and they give us a play, I know what he wants me to do and when I do it and he delivers it exactly where he said he was going to deliver it, it’s a great thing having that connection.”

Smyth is ready to start the season against Glenbard West on Aug. 27. He still wants to work on some repetitions over the next month before the RedHawks start the season, but he’s ready for his moment and trusts his teammates to lead the offense to a deep postseason run.

“I trust them 100%,” Smyth said. “I know they’re going to get open and we’ll be good.”