BRADENTON -- For Jack Wegher, football is a birthright.
His father, Rick, starred at South Dakota State and played professionally in Canada.
His brother, Brandon, was a key factor in Iowa's 2010 Orange Bowl victory.
But what wasn't always a sure thing was where Jack would play.
Listed at the athlete position on IMG Academy's roster, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Wegher has worn many hats.
Last year, he was stuck behind University of Alabama recruit Bo Scarbrough on the running back depth chart and had to bide his time.
"He came to us, had a lot of playing experience as a freshman from where he came from, and came here and had to understand that Bo was probably going to carry most of the load," IMG head coach Chris Weinke said. "So I think he learned a lot just from Bo's approach, the way that he played the game (and) the way that he practiced."
This season, Wegher is sharing carries out of the backfield with Tony Jones and Taven Bardow.
But that hasn't stopped the South Dakota native from tearing up opposing defenses to the tune of 8.77 yards per carry and a team-leading 10 rushing touchdowns.
"He's able to, obviously, run the football with success," Weinke said. "But we can also utilize him in the passing game, so I think he's one of the more unique guys on our football team."
After picking up tidbits from Scarbrough in 2013, Wegher returned for his junior season ready to find his niche with the Ascenders (7-1), who travel to face the top-ranked Class 3A Clearwater Central Catholic Marauders (8-0) on Friday.
Mix in running backs coach Roy Upchurch's involvement, and Wegher has had a breakout campaign.
"When he has the football, he's a monster," said Upchurch, who played running back at the University of Alabama. "He's a bowling ball; one man can't bring him down."
Upchurch said he's taught Wegher to stay disciplined with the running lanes and on his assignments.
"I feel like every time you touch the football, you should score a touchdown," Upchurch said. "You should be creative, you should have attention to detail (and) just be ready to make a play every single time you touch the ball. That's my philosophy. ... I really believe in that. If you are very disciplined in your assignment and on your run track, that's going to happen."
Wegher said he's learned a lot, too.
"Always run downhill, always get vertical," Wegher said about what he's picked up from Upchurch. "You only get one cut, so get as much out of it as you can."
So far this season, Wegher has excelled at that. He has tallied more than 100 rushing yards in a game twice. They were the only times this season that Wegher received double-digit carries in the triple-headed backfield at Weinke's disposal.
"I'm a firm believer in creating competition," Weinke said. "When you're the lone ranger and nobody's pushing you, sometimes players fall into a lull. If they're not being pushed, they end up leveling out. We've got three quality running backs that push each other every day in practice, and I think they are elevating each other's game."