Karson Sherrill has always been an offensive lineman. The Lake Norman senior offensive tackle never really had a choice.
By the third grade, Sherrill, now 18, followed in a prestigious family tradition of linemen that includes his father, Scott, and two older brothers, Kaz and Kane.
"They grew up knowing they would be offensive lineman, basically from day one," said Scott Sherrill. "There were no illusions of being a quarterback or running back or wide receiver. They knew it was their destiny to be on the line."
Scott, the former Wildcats' coach, played at North Mecklenburg High before going onto Lees McRae and then Gardner-Webb, where he starred at center.
Kaz, the oldest brother and a 2007 Lake Norman graduate, as well as Kane, a 2007 Lake Norman graduate, both played linemen for their father. Kane is now the backup center at Wofford as a redshirt freshman.
Karson hopes to follow in his brothers' success at Lake Norman.
"It's never been a competition with our boys, it's just 'your brother was successful, this is how he did it,'" Scott said. "But together, we have always taken a lot of pride in being great, individual offensive lineman. It's a family tradition."
Kaz was the smallest of the brothers, weighing about 220 pounds in his playing days. Kane, 19, is in the middle at 6-foot-2, 285 now, while Karson is now the biggest of three, standing at 6-foot-3, weighing 300 pounds. Karson can bench more than 300 pounds. He squats more than 500.
Karson admits that a brotherly feud has made him the player he is today.
"I grew up competing with Kaz and Kane in just about everything," said Karson. "But I always was the smallest one. Now, I am the biggest one in the family. But I think all of those struggles made me a better player in the long run."
Karson is just coming into his own as one of the senior leaders on a Lake Norman team looking to make big strides after going 2-9 last season.
Karson worked tirelessly this summer on the field and in the weight room.
"Karson has worked really hard all offseason to become a bigger, stronger and better player," said Lake Norman football coach Rob McNeely. "But he's one of those players who is already tired of losing, already tired of thinking about 2-9. He'd be the first to tell you he didn't play up to his potential."
Against North Iredell, Karson had eight pancake blocks, one short of the school record set by Kane in 2009.
Kaz still holds the Lake Norman school-record with 1,185 snaps without allowing a sack.
Kane, who was an all-state tackle, earned a college scholarship.
Karson hopes to live up to the family name at Lake Norman the rest of the season and beyond.
"Kaz set the bar as an overachiever," said Scott. "Then, Kane was the all-state, Shrine Bowl guy, who is now playing college football. Now, Karson has a his chance to make his mark."
Karson hopes that mentality can help take his game to the collegiate level, where he's currently looking at everything from ACC and SEC teams to Football Championship Subdivision squads.
For the rest of Lake Norman's football season and into the winter and spring, Karson will look to prove that he belongs in college.
While the Sherrill brothers are similar, Scott always taught his boys to be their own player and person. Karson is by far the most laid-back and carefree, at least off the field.
"On the field, it is a different story," said Karson. "I have an animal mentality on the field, where I don't even care about the guy lined up across from me. I'm trying to humiliate him on every play."