At 6-foot-2, 275 pounds, Juan Diego lineman Jamie Markosian doesn't have to do much to earn the respect of his teammates.
But his commanding presence hasn't stopped him from making an effort to lead his No. 1-ranked Soaring Eagle team in every way imaginable. He's played hurt, been a fixture in the weight room during the offseason and has a 3.98 cumulative GPA.
"He's just got the whole package," said Juan Diego coach John Colosimo. "I don't have to worry about him off the field. He'll work hard in the weight room for you. Every Friday night he's going to bring everything he's got."
Markosian, a senior, proved he can do that even when he's not at 100 percent. In Juan Diego's loss to Union in the 3A quarterfinals last season, he broke his wrist on the second play of the game. Any questions about his toughness were answered, as he finished the game playing in excruciating pain.
"I couldn't stop; I wasn't going to stop," Markosian said. "It was tough, but I got through it. All that adrenaline helps out. I wasn't going to leave my team out there."
Colosimo said he wouldn't have expected anything less from his star player.
"It's fun to coach a kid like that," Colosimo said. "He brings the level of everyone else up. They see the best player on the team working as hard as he does and think, 'maybe we ought to work that hard, too.'"
So far in 2008, Markosian is enjoying his first injury-free season at Juan Diego. He's been a starter since he was a freshman, but he has had bad luck in trying to stay healthy.
Markosian at full strength is a nightmare for Juan Diego's opponents. He entered the Soaring Eagle's 35-7 win over Judge on Friday night with 21 tackles and four sacks at nose guard. He's also been a key component in the Soaring Eagle's devastating running game at center.
Hardly anyone expected Juan Diego to be as dominant as it's been so far this season. Markosian has helped the Soaring Eagle to a 5-0 start, and the team has allowed just 19 points in five games.
Markosian hopes to lead his team to greater heights when it counts. Juan Diego has been eliminated in the 3A quarterfinals the last three seasons.
"We really have been just right there," Markosian said. "We've needed one more play or a little bit more time. There's all the excuses in the world. If we get through region, we can make some noise and get to the turf this year. That's our main goal. We just got to take it one game at a time, one play at a time."
Markosian figures to have a bright future in football. He's been offered a scholarship by Weber State, and he turned heads in a camp at Purdue during the summer. In college, he plans on studying to be an engineer so that he can follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Henry, who passed away during the spring.
"He is a big inspiration to me," Markosian said. "He was a brilliant man. I want to just try and carry his legacy on."Future Juan Diego football players will probably be saying the same thing about Markosian.