MUNCIE, Ind.-As a high school quarterback, Trent Toothman was used to being the centerpiece, the player whom the entire gameplan revolved around.
When he graduated from Salem High School in 2011, Toothman left as the most decorated quarterback in school history, passing for a Columbiana County-record 5,637 yards along with 2,498 yards rushing and 81 career touchdowns and carrying the Quakers to consecutive playoff berths.
However, in order to play Division I college football he knew he would have to wipe the slate clean and start over from the bottom.
Toothman will take the field with the Ball State University Cardinals on national television Jan. 5 against Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com bowl. He will do so as a backup linebacker and special teams player, still trying to climb his way up the depth chart.
"It's been a tough adjustment, but I really wanted to play linebacker in college," Toothman said. "I knew that was my chance at going to a bigger school and I always loved playing the position."
Toothman's road to the bowl game has been long. He started at linebacker for the Quakers and played quite well, recording a team-high 79 tackles his senior season. He also punted, returned punts and ran on a state-qualifying 400-meter relay team. Ball State was impressed enough with his athleticism that the school offered him a full scholarship to play defense. It was an easy decision.
"They were the only school offering me a full ride," Toothman said. "Toledo and Bowling Green also showed some interest, but I knew pretty quickly where I was going."
There was also no chance of him going to a smaller school to play quarterback.
"It wasn't something I wanted to do," Toothman said. "Fordham (a Div. 1-AA school) talked to me a little bit, but I never really considered going there. I wanted to play linebacker."