Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny junior quarterback Mack Leftwich has seen the positives and negatives of being the son of a college football coach. After bouncing around from Texas to Oklahoma and now to western Pennsylvania, it seems that he has found a home.
"It's pretty tough always moving around," Leftwich said. "North Allegheny is my third school. You always have to make new friends. The football always changes and you always live in different places. I'm used to it now, since I have been around it all my life. I think it has helped build character off the field and it has taught me how to deal with adversity."
Mack is the son of Pittsburgh Panthers offensive line coach Spencer Leftwich. The younger Leftwich is proud to be the son of a coach, despite the adjustments it requires.
"It is pretty cool to have a dad who is a college coach," explained Leftwich. "He won't really breakdown my games, but we'll talk about them all the time. Just the other day he was breaking down adjustments in the zone read for me. He just has so much football knowledge."
One big perk to being the son of a college coach is that one of Leftwich's fathers best friends and co-workers in renowned quarterback coach Todd Dodge who has been instrumental in Mack's development into being considered one of the best quarterbacks in the WPIAL.
"I had the chance to work with Coach Dodge when my dad was with him at North Texas," Leftwich said of the QB guru. "He is like a mentor to me. I would go to all of his camps. He has played a big role in my development. He has taught me to have the quick release, to make decisions quickly, quick feet and to always make sure your feet proceed your arm in the direction that you throw."
Leftwich was a back-up last season at Tulsa (Okla.) Union one of the states premiere high school football programs.
"It's tough to play as an underclassmen at Union," he said. "They have won the last three state championships. Football here is a lot different, it is a lot more physical here. It is comparable, but a little better here. I guess I may not be the best one to ask though, since I didn't play much."
Leftwich is the starter at North Allegheny and has helped lead the Tigers to a (4-0) record. He has proven to be one of the best passers in the WPIAL and seems destined to lead the Tigers to a potential WPIAL Class AAAA title clash against Pittsburgh Central Catholic.
As good as Leftwich has been, he is 5-foot-11 and weighs 180-pounds, so recruiting has gone a little slower than he would like.
"I hear mainly from Pitt and Temple," he stated. "I've always known that I wouldn't be real big. My dad is only about six feet tall and my mom is small, but I don't feel that I am limited. I play in more of a pro-style offense here and when I was in Texas and Oklahoma it was more of a spread."
As one would expect, since his father is out recruiting all the time that mack would get some first hand advice about the recruiting game.
"He always gives me hints about what to say and what not to say," Leftwich explained. "If he is talking to a kid and the kid says stuff he shouldn't, my dad will always tell me don't ever say that."
Leftwich carries a (3.75) GPA and he takes his studies seriously, but he won't pick a school based solely on academics. He plans on following in his fathers footsteps, whether that takes him to Pitt with his father remains to be seen.
"It would be cool to play with my dad," Leftwich said. "I need to see what else is out there, some times you need to do your own thing. I want to be a football coach. Academics are important to me, but I don't need to go to an Ivy League school or anything to become a coach."
We watched Leftwich play against Upper St. Clair and you could see the quick release and he throws a nice, catch-able ball. His arm is strong enough to make all the throws. He can also hurt you with his legs. He is a leader and kept his team calm even when they were behind. As good as he has played, he stills feels that he has things to work on.
"I really need to get better at throwing on the run," he said. "I need to get more accurate. I'm shorter, so I always have to move the pocket and run a lot of sprint outs."