Mervo senior Tyreke Rudolph has been a big part of the Mustangs' quick start on the gridiron this fall.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound tailback has run for 316 yards on 28 carries and scored four touchdowns to lead the Mustangs to wins over Patterson (27-0) and Dunbar (14-8). He also has nine tackles at cornerback.
A three-sport standout, Rudolph has won two Baltimore City wrestling championships at 152 pounds and was a Class 4A-3A North region finalist last season. He is also city champ in the 300-meter hurdles and finished second in the regional meet.
How did you get started playing football?
I started when I was 5, watching my older brother and my uncle. I played for Loch Raven (recreation league).
You play a lot of sports, but which is your favorite?
I just like playing football. I like the contact.
Which position do you like best?
Running back. Running the ball just feels good, like you're taking control. You want to protect the rock.
What's the key to your success as a running back?
That's the line, the big fellas. I got to feed my horses (laughs). We have Tavon [Terry]. We have Jabray Joseph. We have Devon Gray and Corian Bell and Mike Covell and Jarvis Scott.
What makes that relationship work between a running back and the linemen?
It's chemistry. You got to have chemistry with your line. Tell them, "I'm coming right here right off you." That's why we rep it so much in practice. "I'm coming right here so you know not to just let somebody go and look back. Keep blocking."
How do your other sports, wrestling and track, make you a better football player?
The conditioning for track and for wrestling. Stances for wrestling. It helps me hitting, running the ball and at DB, back-pedaling.
Do you want to play football in college?
Yes. I'm trying to go D-I but right now I've got to bring my GPA up. I might be looking at JuCos right now, prep schools. Then a four year.
Is there a college player or NFL player you like to model your game after?
De'Anthony Thomas from Oregon. [St. Louis Rams receiver] Tavon [Austin]. They fast backs and when they've got to, they use their power. They smart backs. They know when to take hits and when not to.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not playing sports?
What kind of singing and dancing do you do?
I do hip-hop and [R&B], and I rap a little bit, too.
Are you famous around school for that?
Yeah. I got a beat, me and my home boys (beat boxes a rhythm). That's the beat right there.
Do you listen to music or dance right before a game?
I do both. I put my music on, lace up. I don't like listening to rap when I'm on the field but when I'm in the locker room, it's all rap music. When I'm on the field, I go straight to my R&B, get a little head nod, get a little focus and just worry about that first kickoff and get a beat in my head.
What's your career goal?
Sports medicine. I want to be an athletic trainer. That way, like my father (Charles Rudolph), I can have that under my belt and be a coach.
Is your father a coach?
Yes. He coached me (in youth football).
How much of an inspiration has he been to you?
A lot. He's been my inspiration through this whole process. It's only been my father and me. I have my grandmother and my aunts, but it's just been my father and my five brothers and sisters. He goes with me every step of the way.
Do you think your dad being a coach has helped you be a better player?
Yes. He put pressure on me. He wasn't just my father, he was my coach, so if I was doing something wrong, he'd get on me and he'd talk to me in a parent way like, "This is what you got to do."