Marcus junior quarterback Garrett Nussmeier is headed back to his roots.
The Marauders’ prized signal-caller is about as well traveled as any high school football player in Texas, having lived in eight different states and even a brief stint north of the border.
But through it all, Louisiana has been a constant for the signal-caller.
Born in Lake Charles, La., Nussmeier still makes his way back east to visit relatives every Christmas and Easter, and once his playing days with the Marauders are over, that’s where he’ll be headed for the next chapter of his football career after verbally committing to LSU earlier this month.
“It’s been extremely exciting. It’s a dream come true and a huge blessing. None of it would be possible without the people around me — my teammates and coaches. It’s been cool to try and continue to develop as a freshman.”
It was back then, during the summer leading in Nussmeier’s sophomore season, when he received his first college offer — fittingly enough, from LSU. He remembers the elation of that moment, the first inkling that he’d have a future playing big-time college football, but the quarterback still kept perspective.
“They were my first offer and I viewed it as a timeline. I knew they didn’t think I was good enough to be an SEC quarterback right then and there, but they thought there was a chance that I could be,” Nussmeier said. “I used that as motivation so I could become what they thought I could be and I’d like to think I became that.”
As Nussmeier put it, he was around 150 pounds and had just finished his freshman year. There was still a long way to go.
In the two seasons since, Nussmeier has developed into one of the state’s top passers — tabbed a four-star recruit and the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the country for the Class of 2021, per 247Sports.com.
Nussmeier’s commitment comes on the heels of a star-making junior campaign where he threw for 3,788 yards and 38 touchdowns to help steer Marcus to its deepest playoff run since 1997 — advancing to the regional semifinals to highlight an 11-2 season.
“I think it was all the hard work we put in during the offseason,” Nussmeier said. “Losing some of the games we lost the year before, especially getting embarrassed by our rival, it was a build-up of anger, and we really had a great football team. Our seniors played their best football and when that happens the team does really well.”
Many of the top college programs in the country took notice. Prior to committing to LSU, Nussmeier had 30 scholarship offers on the table — noting significant interest in Miami, Texas A&M, Texas and Arizona State alongside the Tigers.
“Every staff did a really great job of recruiting me, but LSU was definitely on me the hardest from square one to the finish,” Nussmeier said. “… It’s been the closest (relationship) I’ve had with any of the staffs. Me and [offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger] have had a really strong relationship. I have a lot of faith in him and [head coach Ed Orgeron]. The cool thing about it is ‘Coach O’ is very hands-on in recruiting, so we’d talk once or twice a week, too.”
Nussmeier noted that LSU’s hiring of Scott Linehan as the Tigers’ passing game coordinator only heightened his trust in the coaching staff. Linehan was the offensive coordinator for the quarterback’s father, Doug, when he played in college for the University of Idaho — further cultivating the family-like atmosphere at LSU that appeased Nussmeier.
In the years since, Doug Nussmeier — currently the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach — launched a near-20-year coaching career that included jobs with the BC Lions and Ottawa Renegades of the CFL, followed by stints with Michigan State, the St. Louis Rams, Fresno State, Washington, Alabama, Michigan and Florida before joining Jason Garrett’s staff as the Cowboys’ tight ends coach in 2018.
That meant plenty of moving around the country as a child for Nussmeier, who grew up rooting for any team his dad had coached for — loyalties that still hold true to this day.
“I still root on the Huskies any time they’re on the screen or the Spartans,” Nussmeier said. “That’s the way a coach’s kid’s life is. You cheer for teams that you miss, you love and grew up supporting on the sidelines.”
In high school, those loyalties lie with Marcus as Nussmeier prepares to build on his team’s success in 2019 — albeit during an unconventional offseason that saw spring workouts cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I really wish we could have put some pads on again in the spring, plus it’s another really good time for us to learn the offense,” Nussmeier said. “It’s almost like another install. It would have my eighth install and with every one you learn something new. I have a really good understanding of the offense and know it like the back of my hand, but just continuing to rep would have been awesome.”
Nussmeier’s grasp of the Marauders’ offense has soared the signal-caller up the school’s record books, with chances at setting the program’s all-time passing yardage and passing touchdown records within reach for the 2020 season.
Above all else, the quarterback hopes the wins come first and foremost as the Marauders transition to a new-look 6-6A that welcomes Plano East, Plano Senior and Plano West to join Lewisville ISD and Coppell.
“Whether or not their records say it, I have a lot of respect for the Plano schools because they’ve all got some great athletes and guys who can make plays,” Nussmeier said. “Schools like that are the ones that can get you, just based on their pedigree. We have to respect them and come to each game prepared.”
Nussmeier is keeping that same approach for the start of the season on Aug. 28 when Marcus welcomes Class 5A juggernaut Highland Park to Marauder Stadium.
“I’m focused on Week One right now. Those records are a small goal for me, but the biggest ones are the wins,” Nussmeier said. “I want to win out. We don’t look to state or anything like that. Right now, our focus is on beating Highland Park.”