Considering one of his older brothers was a running back at Ohio State and the other was a linebacker at Notre Dame, maybe it is not a surprise that Rondale Smith is standing out at both spots for the Westerville North High School football team.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior not only has rushed for 558 yards and eight touchdowns on 118 carries halfway through the regular season, but he also had 22 tackles -- including six for loss -- through four games.
The Warriors take a 3-2 record into their OCC-Buckeye Division opener Friday, Sept. 28, at home against Olentangy Orange.
"It's a major role. I like having my teammates depend on me, but I take this as a gift," Smith said. "My whole life, I have played both positions. At first I liked defense more, but as I got older and up into the high school level, I liked offense more. I love both of them equally. Whatever I can do on both sides, I will do."
Rod Smith rushed for 549 yards and 10 touchdowns on 107 carries for Ohio State from 2012-15 before catching on in the NFL as an undrafted free agent. He and brother Jaylon Smith both play for the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted Jaylon with the 34th pick in 2016.
Jaylon Smith was a two-time All-American at Notre Dame.
Rondale Smith was not a full-time starter as a junior, but North coach Bryan Johnson immediately noticed Smith's consistency and work ethic when he was hired in May.
"I think he's one of the better-kept secrets around here," Johnson said. "He's been in the weight room every day. Everything he does in there, he brings it to the field and that is why he is consistent. He runs hard. He's a big kid. He's a 'dude' for us. He doesn't like to make people miss; he'd rather punish them and run right through them.
"I felt like last year, he had the potential to break some long runs, but he wasn't the workhorse guy. We envisioned him being a key guy for us, our workhorse, and we'd give him the ball as many times as he could handle it. He's handled his responsibilities very well."
Smith had four touchdowns in the season's first four games before matching that total in a 48-18 win over Franklin Heights on Sept. 21, when he ran for 151 yards and 22 carries to help snap North's two-game losing streak.
"Every game, I want to get over 100 yards and make at least five tackles," Smith said. "I'd prefer to have three sacks. That doesn't always happen, but that's what I go for."
Two-way starting tackle Micah Thomas said Smith is talented enough to mask mistakes if needed.
"He's not one to hide in the corner and do what he is supposed to do. He gets everybody pumped and ready to play. He's a lot more than just a player," Thomas said. "He is good at cutting and finding holes. Even if the offensive line isn't doing what it's supposed to do, he can make things right. He can make yards out of nothing.
"(Defensively), he's very downhill and knows exactly where he is supposed to be. He is not scared of contact. He will take on contact and make the play."
North will try to break an 18-game losing streak in league play when it takes on Orange, which improved to 3-2 with a 41-12 win at Westland on Sept. 21.
Pioneers quarterback Robbie Dayhuff completed six of 10 passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns, two to standout wide receiver/defensive end Zach Harrison, and ran for 106 yards and two scores.
Harrison, a 6-6, 245-pound senior and one of the state's top college recruits, missed the season's first three games because of a leg injury.
"We still have a lot of things to work on if we want to get to where we want to be," Smith said. "Our energy is there. We just have to keep working hard. This season can get even better."