Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky.

That seems to be the perfect nickname for Brian Rusch.

The Edgerton High senior and three-sport standout always has a smile on his face.

Rusch was an all-Rock Valley Conference first-team selection in basketball this past season, and he has also garnered all-conference recognition in football and baseball. He plans to attend Beloit College in the fall and play basketball for the Buccaneers.

Asked why he always seems so jovial, Rusch answered quickly.

“I just love sports and love playing them,” Rusch said. “It’s what I live for. There’s nothing better than being around your friends at practice and during games, and most of all those trips to Culver’s after every game.

“And that’s what sucks about the last two months. This last month was supposed to be the most fun of all your high school days. We had our senior trip to (Washington) DC canceled and never got the chance to play baseball.”

Rusch was the starting shortstop for the Crimson Tide and was slated to be the No. 3 pitcher on a deep and talented staff. He was good enough as a sophomore to pitch in Edgerton’s sectional title game.

“We kind of threw Brian to the wolves that game,” Edgerton coach Mike Gregory said. “He was so nervous when we told him he was going to pitch that I think he threw up before the game. But he came out and pitched his butt off and gave us a chance.

“What really sticks out with Brian, no matter what he’s doing, is that he’s always got a smile on his face. Kids gravitate to him because of his positive attitude.”

Rusch was a key cog on the basketball team this past season.

He averaged 11.9 points a game as a starter on a team that reached sectional play.

Edgerton boys coach Daryl Fox said Rusch had all the intangibles necessary to play at a high level.

“I’ve been coaching Brian since the third grade, and I can honestly say that nothing fazes him,” Fox said. “He’s about the most even-keeled kid on the court I’ve ever seen.

“He’s a natural leader, and regardless of whether he does a lot of scoring or not at Beloit, he’ll find ways to contribute either by defending, rebounding or providing a spark off the bench.”

Rusch played quarterback growing up but switched to defense his junior year of high school because he was stuck behind all-state selection Jaden Johnson.

Despite never having played on the defensive side of the ball, Rusch made an immediate impact. He was the leader of a defense that allowed less than 15 points a game the last two seasons.

“Brian was too good of an athlete to just play a backup role as a quarterback,” Gregory said. “So we asked him to play defense and, without missing a beat, he made the transition. He went from quarterback on offense to the QB of the defense. He made all our secondary calls and turned into a playmaker on defense.”

Rusch said the decision to stay close to home and play at Beloit was an easy one. The Buccaneers struggled to an 8-17 record last season, but Rusch said there was far more that went into making the decision than wins and losses.

“I think the Beloit coaches were at just about every game I played last year and that meant a lot,” Rusch said. “I remember Ja Morant’s dad telling him that go where the coaches want you and not where you want to go. If you go where you’re wanted, you’ll play at your highest level.”

Rusch hopes to study education at Beloit and hopes to someday teach and coach at the collegiate level.

Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky will be smiling the whole way.