Written by Ryan Wright
Defenses that may have gotten one in on Marco Lainez during the 2020 season, there won’t be a second time over the next two seasons. The Class of 2023 quarterback was still learning the nuances of the game, and a new pro-style set, in 2020, but showed he is a future collegiate talent. The 6-3, 220-pound, dual-threat threw for 1,522 yards with 12 touchdowns during Hun School’s 3-3 campaign earning first team All-Trenton Area honors. With the play on the field has come action off it seeing seven programs drop offers.
In an RNG interview partnered with QB Hit List, Lainez goes into detail on his sophomore run and how he is preparing for the future this offseason.
Marco, from a quarterback’s perspective, the offense you were running with Hun looked like a lot of fun. If you will breakdown some of the schemes you were executing throughout the 2020 season.
We ran a pro-style offense. I was mostly under center, but we went into the shotgun running a 3-by-1, 2-by-2 or an empty set. Our offense mixed defenses up. We could go vertical in center or in the gun. This was my first year in a pro-style offense, before I was in a Spread. I got footwork down. My coach worked with me on the play-action fakes, the personnel we’d have, and how to attack the defense.
How did you take on that challenge of going in a pro-style under center?
A challenge I had, the gun was easy, I had always done that. It was learning reading from the safety to the corner to the linebacker and learning how important the play-action fake is to our offense. If you don’t move the linebacker, you don’t open up the zone behind them.
Going from under center and in the shotgun, how did your pre- and post-snap reads improve throughout the season?
I learned recently that I cannot always look for the answers. I can’t over analyze every play. You have to eliminate what is not open. You can see two safeties back, but one rolls down and the other one stays back. Or they could be in a Cover 3 cloud or sky. No matter what, I have to react on the fly. In the game, there is more grey area than when going over defenses on the board. That is the beauty of the game, you prepare yourself for success. It takes over in the game.
The concepts we run, our coaches, Coach Smith, they are very detailed. If they are running Cover 2, 3, or 4, they know how to attack the defenses. That makes my job easier.
Which areas of your game showed the most improvement?
From a physical standpoint, in two games we lost, against St. Joe (Regional) I was beat up pretty good and sacked four times. But I kept dealing. I kept fighting, kept making throws, and drove the ball down the field. In that game, I showed my toughness.
Against Malvern Prep, that was a psychological game for me to come back from. I threw four interceptions in that game. There was a lot weighing on me for the next week. I had to have a good game. We won the next one (Wyoming Seminary College). I had put that game behind me and moved on.
What are the traits to your game that help make you such a dynamic quarterback?
My physical traits. My dad raised me to be a tough kid. I like lowering the shoulder on corners and linebackers. It could come back to bite me one day, but I do what I can to win. I can get outside the pocket and extend plays. A really good part of my game, and I am improving on it, I can run or make a throw on the run. That is a threat. I’m not a one-dimensional guy. I see myself as dual-threat.
I am a competitor. I have the drive to be the best. There is something in me that loves competition. My goal is to embarrass someone and make them regret playing against me. I can do it mentally and I can pick them apart physically. That mental aspect, winning at all costs. The blood, sweat and tears we put into our team… this last season we went 3-3. I feel this year we will do some damage. That is the best part of the game as a quarterback, having 10 pairs of eyes looking back at you in the hudle.
Early into the offseason, what have you been working on with your fundamentals?
Cleaning up my motion and doing some tweaks Coach Brad and I decided to make. There is a jump now in my ball that wasn’t there during the season. I have more juice on it and I am using my hips more.
How are you expanding your understanding of the game?
Working with Coach Tony, he’s an NFL QB trainer. I have been blessed to work with him and go into the classroom to soak up everything. He teaches protections of the offensive line used in the NFL, full slides, half slides, and bigs on bigs. We go over all the variations in coverages. Not all will play straight up Cover 2, 3, or 4, so we go over all the variations.
Are you playing any other sports for Hun?
I am competing in track this spring.
Are there any camps you may attend coming up?
The Elite 11 Regional in Philly.
Let’s get into recruiting. Which schools are showing interest?
I have had communication with a few schools. Rutgers is showing interest. I receiving many per week.
How many offers do you have?
Seven. I got Pitt today.
Lainez’s Offer Sheet: Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan State, Pennsylvania, Pitt, West Virginia, and Princeton
Very cool. How did they offer you?
I called them. Coach (Tim) Salem (TE) told me he was going to offer me. It was an exhilarating feeling. Pure joy. My family is really proud of me. It is nice to know it is all paying off.
When did you get your first offer and who did it come from?
I got my first offer on Sept. 1 from UMass. Princeton offered on Sept. 2.
Visits are supposed to open back up in June. When that happens, are there any programs you’d like to go see?
I’d love to see all the schools that have offered me. I want to visit as many schools as I can.
Did we cover everything today?
I want to share that it takes a village. I have put a lot of work into my game, but I couldn’t do all of this without my mom, dad, sisters, coaches, and everyone giving me the opportunity, and God keeping me healthy. Without that, we would not be talking today. I am very grateful for all who have helped me along the way, for the advice and for those who have taught me. I am grateful for all who are helping me.
Marco, I appreciate your time today. Good luck with your workouts and with the Elite 11 Regional.
Photo credit: Lainez family; Marco Lainez