HARRISONBURG - Hayden Rutherford has always loved football, but his first sport was soccer. It took him trying that up until seventh grade to realize that football was a better fit.
"Up until then I was always getting yellow cards and red cards in soccer so it wasn't really working out. When I started playing football, everything really meshed a whole lot better," said Hayden.
It meshed so well that he's played a handful of positions.
"We could move him down inside and play some tight end. He's big enough to block. He could catch as a receiver. And on the defense, we had him as the safety. We had him at line backer. At his size, that creates a lot of options for us a coaches being able to move him around," said his coach Chris Thurman.
In school he's just as versatile. He has a 4.2 GPA, participates in Robotics and he also runs track. He says he does all of that because it's just the way he was raised.
"My dad has always emphasized good grades. I mean he's a laid back dude as long as you get good grades, participate in sports. He's really big on extracurricular activities and just not getting in trouble. And as long as I do that, life is just a whole lot easier," said Hayden.
Life may be easier, but class is where he constantly works hard.
"He goes above and beyond whats expected. I never have to worry does Hayden have his work done. I mean, Hayden taught part of the class today," said his history teacher Mark Healy.
"He doesn't get those grades because it comes to him naturally. Same on the football field. I mean he's worked hard to get where he's gotten," said Thurman.
Hayden plans on pursuing his interest in engineering at the Colorado School of Mines next fall. He also plans on playing football there.
Harrisonburg High School's skills on the football field and in the classroom are why Hayden Rutherford is WHSV's Student Athlete of the Week.