He's already come a long way in a few short months and now Braidon Burns is being tipped to fill the boots of one of the greatest rugby league payers in recent history.
Burns, currently sidelined with an ankle injury, has been picked by Rabbitohs teammates as the man to replace Greg Inglis after the former Origin champion and Kangaroos representative announced his retirement earlier this week.
Burns has already enjoyed a breakout season in a number of ways.
South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett confessed he knew little of Burns when he arrived in the off-season but the Coonamble junior quickly caught his eye and worked his way into the starting side early in the 2019 campaign.
His efforts on the field drew huge praise while he was also warmly embraced by the rugby league community after telling his story of overcoming adversity and wanting to create a better life for himself after watching his parents battle drug addiction.
The mature 22-year-old, who was born in Dubbo, established himself as a first-team regular before suffering an ankle injury against the Gold Coast in round three but he's been backed to not only regain his place, but nail down a centre sport long term in the post-Inglis era.
"You'll never replace Greggy, it will never happen in one million years because he's a once-in-a-generation player," Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I think it's a great opportunity for a young kid to step up and take Greggy's spot.
"I believe it's Braidon Burns. He's shown at the start of the season he's comfortable with that position and will take it with both hands. He's working hard to get back.
"He got injured and then it opened up an opportunity for 'dog' [Kyle Turner] and he's done a wonderful job."'
Turner, another western junior who started at Coonabarabran, is one of the many has paid tribute to Inglis this week.
"I'll be honest, for me personally it was devastating," Turner told NRL.com.
It was very touching the way he told us. For him to come out and do that in front of the boys, we respect him so much for that."