DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s an inspiring story surrounding one of the players in Sunday’s Super Bowl who happens to be from North Texas.

Ronald Jones, who played at McKinney North High and is now a running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, overcame grief to become a superstar on the gridiron.

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Ronald Jones II (27) of the Bucs smiles before the regular season game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 03, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jones was a typical 8-year-old boy who loved football and his father.

“Ronald was such an amazingly athletic guy,” said his mother Jackie Jones. “He played track, football and even tried basketball. He tried all three sports he just really showed out in football.”

In 2012, the unthinkable happened.

His dad suffered a heart attack and lost his battle with heart disease.

The then-15-year-old took his father’s death hard.

He left the team and school.

“I think he just kind of lost his way for a while and didn’t know how to go on or what to do,” said McKinney North High head coach Mike Fecci.

Coach Fecci said Jones later returned to the team as the starting running back.

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In his first game, Jones rushed for more than 200 yards and would eventually set the school record with nearly 5,000 yards.

“He came back and we embraced him with open arms and he was a different guy after that,” said Fecci. “That’s the first time I saw him and thought man that guy is really special.”

Jones emerged from the grief of losing his father to become a true star on the football field at McKinney North as a 4-star recruit and one of the top 40 high school players in the country.

After a standout career at USC, Jones joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 and, at only 23, is already Super Bowl bound.

“Just even making to the Super Bowl was one his goals,” his mother Jackie said. “It’s one of those things that he and his father discussed so just making it there is success enough.”

Jones will be carrying a lot more than a football when he plays on Sunday.

The McKinney native will also be holding onto the memory of a father who set him on his path for success, as well as the love for a mother who kept him on that path.

“January his father would’ve been 55 and he’s playing in Super Bowl 55,” said Jackie. “We are just so excited. I can’t believe all of this is happening.”

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