At this point, George Kranik has heard all the snide remarks, all the jokes about his size.
"Sometimes, I get annoyed, people calling me small all the time," Kranik said. "People want to pick on me. (Opposing receivers) always say they're going to burn me. I've heard, 'What are you doing out here?' 'You're way better than him.' I'm used to it."
Standing 5-foot-6, 125 pounds, the Boone Grove cornerback-flanker may be the smallest starter in the region, but his height and weight are only measurements.
"He's a small kid, but his heart, his intelligence, I put him right with anybody," Wolves coach Tony Tinkel said. "He's a little quicker than you think. He reads things well. He covers well. His freshman year, he stuck his nose in there and hit people. It was evident last year he was going to be pretty good in the future. He bided his time, worked and worked. He deserves to be playing. The kid is fearless."
When Kranik started playing football around the age of 8, he weighed in the 60s. As a freshman, he finally reached the century mark. Despite his mom's concerns for her son's well being, Kranik has never let his size hold him back.
"My mom is always scared for me. I always tell her I'm fine," said Kranik, who played through a fractured wrist last season. "You don't have to be big. I just like playing. I like to catch the ball. I like scoring touchdowns. I like making tackles. You can be small and still do other things."
It didn't take long for Kranik to earn the respect of his much larger teammates.
"It shows his toughness," said Zach Keilman, who weighs twice as much Kranik. "A lot of shorter kids want to be athletes, but they get put down because they're too small and aren't able to do anything. He's shown for three years. He's had key roles on offense and defense."
All the kidding aside, Kranik is just another player, and a good one at that.
"Honestly, his size has made no difference," 245-pound Garrett Glisk said. "(In) a JV game against Wheeler, a guy was running and he came out of nowhere to make the tackle."
After playing JV as a freshman, Kranik saw varsity time last season. With the graduation of most of Boone's skill position players, the window of opportunity opened for Kranik.
"I knew I needed to step up," he said. "I worked out. I'm strong, for my size. When we were at the Notre Dame 7 on 7, coach (Mike) Poynter said I would be starting, so it started me thinking."
Kranik has more than held his own. He had two of his three interceptions in a win over Hammond and broke up a pass in the end zone Saturday at Indianapolis Marshall, helping preserve a 14-7 overtime victory.
"His technique alone makes up for his stature," said Poynter, Boone's defensive coordinator. "His technique is perfect."
Among Kranik's 25 tackles, his stop of a much-larger Gavit running back was probably the most memorable.
"He trucked me, but I still made the tackle," Kranik said. "When I have a bigger guy coming at me, I have to make sure I break down and make the tackle. I'm not the quickest, so I usually give a good cushion (on passes), make sure they don't get behind me so I don't get burned."
Along the way, Kranik has also won over his share of opponents.
"I've had receivers say, 'You're pretty good for a little guy,'" he said. "It makes me feel good."