Oct. 7—MIDDLETOWN — Physically, Carson Smith barely resembles the person he was when he first arrived at Middletown High School in the fall of 2019.
That version of Smith was 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds. He was relegated to being the speedy running back on the Knights' junior-varsity football team.
Now, Smith is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound pick-up truck for the Middletown varsity team that runs over tacklers and drags them all over the field.
Through five games so far, Smith's numbers are on par with some of the best running backs that have played at Middletown. He's averaging close to 200 yards per game and has scored 17 touchdowns despite defenses loading up around the line of scrimmage to try and stop him.
"He runs hard. He can bounce off tacklers pretty effortlessly," teammate Clark Cheairs said. "It's pretty fun to watch."
Smith's growth spurt was not entirely unexpected. His father, Charlie, the State's Attorney for Frederick County, and older brother, Hank, surpassed 6-feet and played on the offensive line.
Carson's sudden growth spurt prompted Middletown's JV team to try him on the offensive line for three games before it quickly became apparent he was helping the team more with the ball in his hands.
"I will not lie. I was not a fan," he said of being a lineman.
Smith is as big as most linemen in Frederick County. The difference is he can run fast and catch, which makes him one of the biggest offensive weapons in the county.
Since the spring season ended in April, Smith has put on roughly 20 pounds without losing any speed or agility.
He said it's the result of eating a lot and taking advantage of Middletown's strength-and-conditioning program.
"Contrary to popular opinion, leg day is my favorite day," he said of his weight-lifting regimen.
Smith is quick to praise the work of his offensive line and fullbacks. But many of the yards that he gains come after his first contact with the defense.
Last week against Linganore, with the Lancers focused on stopping him, he carried the ball 26 times and was dragging tacklers on several of those runs. He finished with 167 yards and a touchdown. But the Knights fell to 3-2 overall with a 24-13 loss.
In his varsity debut on Sept. 3, Smith rushed for more than 100 yards and four touchdowns on nine first-half carries in a blowout win at Tuscarora. He followed that performance by rushing for 244 yards on 34 carries in a close win over Frederick and 237 yards on 31 carries in a loss at Oakdale.
"My job is to run through a hole and get as many yards as I can," he said.
Smith only trails Linganore's Ethan Arneson (921 yards on 118 carries) for the county's rushing lead.
Colleges have been slow to engage with him. But that figures to change very soon. His father played football at Salisbury before transferring to Maryland.
"My job right now is to practice, play well and everything else will come as it is," Smith said.
Smith grew up around the Middletown football program. His older brother played on state championship teams in 2012 and '13. He idolized former Middletown running backs, like Zach Welch, who owns many of the program's rushing records.
Before he graduates, Smith might own a few of his own. Although, he said his top priority is helping the Knights win another state title.
"I am a believer that you do what you do best, work as hard as you can, and everything will work out," he said.
Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek