When it comes to star power, junior quarterback Alexander Diamont of Venice can more than hold his own.
Whether directing the Gondoliers' offense or posing on a beach for a modeling assignment, Diamont knows how to stay cool, calm and focused.
As a sophomore last season, he finished with 2,213 yards passing and 14 touchdowns with seven interceptions. The potential he displayed has Coach Angelo Gasca excited about what he might accomplish this fall.
"He's tough and he's serious and has a good feel for the game and really loves it," Gasca said. "He wants to get better and really cares. Those are essential to take the next step."
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound Diamont feels much more comfortable and prepared to deal with his many responsibilities.
"I have a stronger grip on the offense," he said. "I matured a lot. I've been trying to get bigger, stronger, faster, smarter. Last season I'd be sure some plays, not so sure others. It would change week to week. Now I feel I have total control of the offense."
With the official start of City Section football practice Monday, Diamont is going to have to put his modeling career on hold, but it won't prevent teammates from having fun.
"I get made fun of a lot, but that's how guys are," he said.
There could be some jealousy involved, considering Diamont got to hang out at the beach with some girls in bikinis for a soft-drink commercial.
"I enjoy doing it," he said.
Modeling and acting are part of the family experience. His father, Don, spent 22 years on the TV series "The Young and the Restless," and now appears on the soap "The Bold and the Beautiful." He's also the videographer for Alexander and his younger brother, Luca, 11, another quarterback in the making.
"My dad teaches me more than anyone," Diamont said. "He's taught me to be confident but not cocky."
Diamont learned early on last season that one game doesn't make a season. In his varsity debut, he completed nine of 12 passes for 219 yards against Studio City Harvard-Westlake.
"My first game was one of my best, so I started on this high point," he said. "It's not easy to maintain that. You can't believe the hype. You have to maintain a level head throughout the season."
One of Diamont's strengths is the ability to improvise.
"It's one of my favorite parts of the game," he said. "When everything is breaking down, you're the one staying calm and making something happen."
The 2012 season should be good for Diamont, though Gasca teases, "I've told him, 'Don't be posing on the sideline.'"