By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
He owns the most common surname in the United States, but as early as eighth grade, coaches in three sports saw Brandon Smith had uncommon talents.
The recent Lewisburg High School graduate and current walk-on football player at Penn State University, capped his brilliant four-year career with performances that ranked him among the best in the state in football, wrestling and track.
For his accomplishments, Smith, son of Jeff and Deb Smith, is The Daily Item's Male Athlete of the Year for 2013, in a unanimous vote of the newspaper's sports department.
When told of the honor this past week, Smith, in his usual soft-spoken and humble manner said simply, "It's an honor to get it."
Although he set lofty goals and had some disappointments in his senior year, Smith looks back on it as one filled with proud moments.
"It was a great year," the three-sport star said.
In football, Smith was named an all-state linebacker for the third consecutive year and became the first player ever to be named The Daily Item's Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. The latter was his third nod in a row.
In wrestling, he made his first trip to the PIAA Class AA final, settling for the silver medal at 215 pounds, his second state medal in the sport. In track, he earned a medal in the javelin throw for the third year in a row.
Smith's friendly nemesis in wrestling, Milton senior Ryan Solomon, who himself had an outstanding season, was the unanimous runner-up pick for this year's award. Solomon was a two-time state wrestling champ -- undefeated in his career versus Smith -- an outstanding football player and came out for baseball and had an outstanding season in that sport as well.