2013 College Football All-Famous Fathers Team
QB: Nick Montana (Tulane)
There are a lot of current college football players with famous fathers. So many, in fact, that we were able to construct an entire starting offense (four WRs) and defense (4-2-5 alignment) consisting of them. Without further ado, here is our 2013 CFB All-Famous Fathers Team.
Joe Montana’s football playing legacy is more than secure, with four Super Bowl rings and the 1977 national title at Notre Dame to his name. His youngest son, Nick, would love just a shred of that success.
Nick Montana started out at Washington, only to be beaten out for the Huskies’ starting job by Keith Price. He spent last year at Mt. San Antonio (CA) College — where he threw for 22 TDs and over 2,600 yards — and is now hoping to give the Green Wave offense a much-needed shot in the arm.
RB: Barry J. Sanders (Stanford)
After redshirting in 2012, Sanders — a 2011 U.S. Army All-American at Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma City and the son of perhaps the most dynamic running back in football history — is ready to compete for the Cardinal’s starting RB job following the departure of Stepfan Taylor to the NFL.
The word you’re likely to hear most often about Sanders leading up to and during the season is “potential.” He possesses balance and cutting ability reminiscent of his dad, yet he’s very much a work-in-progress — as evidenced by a spring game in which he had just 12 yards rushing (on seven carries) and fumbled a punt.
RB: Ray Lewis III (Miami, FL)
The younger Lewis follows in his ex-linebacker father’s footsteps to Coral Gables. That’s where the comparisons end. Lewis III is a speedy running back, having averaged 10.0 YPC or more in each of his final two seasons at Lake Mary (FL) Prep while scoring 57 total offensive TDs.
“I can’t be worried about trying to be better than my dad or trying to be what other people’s expectations are of me,” Lewis III told The Orlando Sentinel in February. “I don’t have to please anybody else.”
We can only hope Lewis III will show off his dad’s pre-game dance now that the elder Lewis is retired.
WR: Deion Sanders Jr. (SMU)
It’d be overly optimistic to hope for “Prime Time”-esque highlights from the younger Sanders.
The slight (5-foot-7 and 170 pounds) Sanders Jr. was just a two-star prospect as a senior at Marcus High in Flower Mound, TX, in 2011. It was only after spending a post-graduate year at Atlanta Sports Academy that SMU offered Sanders Jr. a scholarship. (His only previous offer was from Houston.)
His best hope is that he puts up decent numbers in June Jones’ Run N’ Shoot offense. For now, he’ll have to be satisfied carrying on his father’s legacy in another way: With his penchant for bling, as evidenced by the gold Versace bedsheets in his dorm room.
WR: Trey Griffey (Arizona)
Griffey’s father and grandfather — both named Ken — starred on the baseball diamond. Trey, meanwhile, decided to make the gridiron his sports home. After an admittedly tough redshirt season in 2012 spent on the scout team, he’s ready to contribute to Rich Rodriguez’s high-powered offense.
“He’s still going to make mistakes this spring,” Rodriguez told GoAZCats.com in April. “But if we can get those corrected and get him through the August camp, I think he’s going to have a chance to help us quite a bit this year. He’s made great increases in his strength, which to me reflects his work ethic.”
If the younger Griffey can exhibit the same type of hops his dad did while robbing opposing batters of home runs, RichRod will be that much happier.
WR: Jerry Rice Jr. (UNLV)
The son of the most prolific NFL receiver in history didn’t get much of an opportunity to shine at UCLA. A former Bruins walk-on, Rice Jr. caught just nine balls for 69 yards in three seasons with the team.
After graduating from the school this past spring, he decided to give football one last shot and transferred to UNLV in June. Having already earned his degree, he will be eligible to play immediately.
Is it really a gamble you’re taking on a player when he’s Jerry Rice’s son? The Rebels coaching staff is no doubt hoping that logic holds true to form.
WR: Corey Robinson (Notre Dame)
Robinson’s father, David, was a late bloomer on the basketball court, not playing the game competitively until his senior year of high school before becoming an all-everything star at Navy and with the San Antonio Spurs.
Corey Robinson followed a similar trajectory on the gridiron. The San Antonio Christian High School product didn’t show up on recruiters’ radars until the Army All-American Bowl Combine in January 2012. He followed that up by recording 1,414 receiving yards and 20 TDs as a senior.
The younger Robinson is already 6-foot-4 and, apparently, still growing. “The Admiral” predicts his son will fill out at an imposing 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds. Good luck to future opposing cornerbacks.
OL: K.J. Malone (LSU)
While Karl Malone had a penchant for “delivering the mail,” his son K.J. was always about pancake blocks.
Primarily a guard at Cedar Creek Academy in Ruston, LA — the same town where “The Mailman” starred as a collegian, at Louisiana Tech — the younger Malone will likely be moved to center, according to LSU coaches. Malone’s son, already a strapping 6-foot-3 and 307 pounds, better be prepared to exhibit his father’s ruggedness while facing the best defensive linemen in the country.
OL: Zach Banner (USC)
The Trojans’ normally stout offensive line was frequently (and surprisingly) exposed last season. If they’re able to turn things around in 2013, it could very well be Banner — the redshirt freshman son of former three-time NFL Pro Bowl OT Lincoln Kennedy (a consensus 1992 All-American at Washington) — who helps lead the way.
Rivals’ second-best offensive linemen in the entire Class of 2012, Banner — still just 19 years old — is already 6-foot-9 and 345 pounds. It’s an ideal mix of size and length for a left tackle. He also possesses the athleticism befitting one, having also played for USC’s basketball team last year.
OL: Jake & Mike Matthews (Texas A&M)
The Matthews brothers — Jake (above right) is a senior, Mike is a sophomore — are facing a lot of different types of pressure in College Station this season.
For starters, they’re replacing two longtime Aggies standouts; Jake takes over at left tackle for No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Luke Joeckel, while Mike replaces graduated Patrick Lewis at center. All the while they’re trying to carry on the legacy of their father, Bruce, a former All-American OL at USC who holds the NFL record for Pro Bowl bids (14).
Oh, and did we mention that Jake and Mike have to also live up to the standard set by an uncle (Clay Jr.), a cousin (Clay III) and an older brother (Kevin) — all of whom either played or currently play in the NFL?
OL: Ben Tamburello (Navy)
Tamburello’s father and namesake was a two-time All-American at Auburn and the 1986 SEC Offensive Lineman of the Year before spending five years in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. But as the younger Tamburello told The Birmingham News in February 2012, he chose Navy so he could “find my own way to distinguish myself in the family.”
“The goal was to be able to get into the best school and have football pay for it,” said Tamburello, who originally signed with FCS Samford before switching his commitment to the Midshipmen and redshirting in 2012. “Football would get my foot in a door at a school I couldn’t have gotten into otherwise.”
Tamburello already has his eye on his post-football career, saying he wants to be a Navy lawyer in the JAG program when he’s 30 and, after that, a politician.
DL: Alston Smith (Virginia Tech)
Nearly 20 years after he graduated, Bruce Smith is still widely regarded as the best defensive player Virginia Tech has ever produced. Among those now living with that legacy is Smith’s son, Alston.
After redshirting in 2012, Smith is one of several young DTs the Hokies are hoping can spell starters Derrick Hopkins and Luther Maddy. From the sounds of it, he’s still has work to do; Andy Bitter of The Roanoke Times said that neither Smith nor his competition did much to separate themselves in the spring.
DL: Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas)
Jim Jeffcoat terrorized opposing offenses as a defensive end at Arizona State (where he was an All-Pac-10 honoree) and in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills (with whom he recorded over 100 sacks). His son Jackson — entering his senior season with the Longhorns — might be even better.
The younger Jeffcoat’s 2012 season was cut short by a ruptured pectoral muscle suffered against Oklahoma. Now a senior, he’s a preseason candidate for the Walter Camp Award, Bednarik Trophy and Nagurski Trophy — after which his NFL prospects look just as bright as his father’s.
DL: Darius Hamilton (Rutgers)
Rivals’ second-best defensive end in the Class of 2012, Hamilton — who starred at hallowed Don Bosco Prep in Ramsay, NJ — decided to play his college ball in his home state, where his father Keith was born (in Paterson) and spent 12 NFL seasons playing with the New York Giants.
Considered the gem of Rutgers’ highest-rated recruiting class in history, Hamilton got a lot of reps at DT during the 2012 season as the Scarlet Knights finishing fourth nationally in scoring defense (14.2 PPG). Though undersized at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, he’s more than held his own.
“Darius has been a productive player since the beginning,” Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood told The Star Ledger last October. “Because of the (injury) situation on the defensive line, he’s starting to take more and more of the reps and he’s been able to handle it. We’re excited about his career.”
DL: Bryan Cox Jr. (Florida)
While his father and namesake had to toil away at Western Illinois prior to his 12-year NFL career, Cox Jr. — a strongside DE — joined Will Muschamp’s defense at Florida after a standout career at St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
During his redshirt freshman season in 2012, Cox added 30 pounds in an effort to get stronger. This past spring, Gators coaches noticed a newly aggressive player — much like his father was — and expect him to be a valuable backup to starter Jonathan Bullard.
Hopefully the younger Cox can restrain himself from flipping the double bird at opposing fans.
LB: Nico Marley (Tulane)
Despite being well-undersized as a linebacker at 5-foot-7 and 182 pounds, Bob Marley’s grandson led Weston (FL) Cypress Bay High in tackles each of his final three seasons. If he’s able to continue that with the Green Wave, he wouldn’t be the first Marley to succeed on the college level.
Marley’s father, Rohan — an entrepreneur who focuses much of his business efforts on an eponymous coffee line — was an undersized linebacker in his own right, leading Miami (FL) with 95 tackles during the 1993 season.
“He takes people on, is always productive, always around the ball,” Cypress Bay coach Mark Guandolo said of the younger Marley in a January interview with Prep Rally. “He’s thick. He’s strong. He’s a bull. He has that Marley spirit, just something so strong that gets us all going.”
LB: Hardy Nickerson Jr. (Cal)
Former five-time NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Hardy Nickerson has been there for much of his son and namesake’s development into a fine LB prospect in his own right.
The younger Nickerson, already a strapping 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, was coached by his father in his final two years at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland and took his talents right down the road to his father’s alma mater at Cal.
A redshirt freshman, Nickerson Jr. is ready to chase college ball-carriers with the same reckless abandon his father did. The Golden Bears’ 2012 Scout Team Player of the Year on special teams, he recorded a game-high six tackles — including 1.5 TFL — in Cal’s spring game.
DB: Alex Carter (Stanford)
The Cardinal’s roster is replete with several young players whose fathers played professionally. One of the first to contribute to the burgeoning Pac-12 power last year was Carter — whose father, Tom, was a three-year starting safety at Notre Dame in the 1990s before spending nine seasons in the NFL.
Carter started Stanford’s final seven games last year, finishing with 46 tackles and a team-leading three forced fumbles. He says that his dad’s watchful eye throughout his development as a football player was largely responsible for those dividends.
“My mom gets sick of us talking about football all the time,” Carter told The San Francisco Chronicle last October, “but it was great having him there to coach me and tell me what I’m doing wrong.”
DB: Jesse Bongiovi (Notre Dame)
Bon Jovi’s hit songs “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Keep the Faith” are taking on a whole new meaning in South Bend this season. The oldest son of the rock group’s lead singer is making sure of that by trying to become the next Rudy.
“I came up here when I was in eighth grade and I just fell in love with the place,” said Bongiovi — a 5-foot-11, 180-pounder who played football and lacrosse at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn and projects to be a defensive back — in an April interview with Irish Sports Daily. “The culture here, the people here, the opportunities here, they’re unreal. They’re second to none. Given the opportunity to walk on to the team and become a part of this family was an easy decision for me.”
DB: Justin Combs (UCLA)
Just imagine what kind of mini-documentary Diddy will produce to follow up last year’s if his son Justin, a Bruins scout-teamer during his 2012 redshirt season, stars on the field in 2013.
For someone who grew up privileged, Combs — who some people might remember for receiving a Maybach for his birthday on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” — has made sure to earn everything that he’s gotten in Westwood on his own. So far so good, as UCLA’s coaches have raved about the effort the 5-foot-7, 165-pound CB has displayed on the field.
“He’s a brother to us,” DB coach Demetrice Martin told The Daily Bruin last November. “He comes out here every day and goes against our best receivers and best quarterbacks and best running backs because he wants to get better. That’s who he is. We don’t see him as Sean Combs’ son. He’s Justin Combs, UCLA football player.”
DB: Ray Buchanan Jr. (Arkansas)
One of the top priorities for new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is to overhaul a porous defense from last year. While doing so, he’ll have at his disposal a redshirt DB in Ray Buchanan Jr. whose swagger and style of play are reminiscent of his father’s, who spent 12 seasons in the NFL (1993–2004).
“I like to play press and man-to-man,” he told ESPN in August 2011, shortly after committing to the Hogs. “I have quick feet and can run. There are things though that I will keep working on because I know I have to get better.”
It appears as though he’s made good on that vow. Reports out of Fayetteville are that Buchanan Jr. had a very nice spring in preparation for his redshirt freshman season.
DB: Austin Collinsworth (Notre Dame)
At Florida and in eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Cris Collinsworth was a game-breaking wide receiver — the exact type of player that his son, Austin, hopes to slow down in South Bend this season.
Notre Dame’s 2011 Special Teams Player of the Year, the younger Collinsworth missed all of 2012 following a shoulder injury suffered in spring practice. He’s now healthy and happy to be back — as are his teammates.
“Austin this time last spring was dominating,” fellow safety Matthias Farley told The Chicago Sun-Times in April. “To have him back, to have him healthy, is a huge asset for everybody. He can play either safety position and he’s good at both.”
QB: Garrett Gilbert, SMU – The former transfer from Texas is one of two sons ex-NFL QB Gale Gilbert has in the college ranks; younger brother Griffin is a sophomore TE at nearby TCU.
QB: Skyler Mornhinweg, Florida – He has the football IQ you’d expect from a coach’s son (dad Marty is the New York Jets’ new OC), but he enters fall practice third on the Gators’ QB depth chart.
QB: Taylor Graham (Hawaii) – The son of former Ohio State and NFL QB Kent Graham didn’t pan out in Columbus but is getting a chance to start in Honolulu.
RB: Kelvin Taylor, Florida (above left) – The all-time leading rusher in Florida high school history (12,121 yards) will wear the same No. 21 Gators jersey with “Taylor” emblazoned on the back worn by his dad, Fred, back in the 1990s.
RB: James Wilder Jr., Florida State - The Seminoles’ physically imposing junior running back follows in the footsteps of his father James, a former Mizzou standout and 1984 Pro Bowler with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
RB: Donnell Alexander, Colorado State – One of seven children (by five different women) of Hall of Fame LB Derrick Thomas, Alexander led the Rams in rushing (587) as a redshirt freshman in 2012.
RB: Keith Byars II, Purdue – A product of Boca Raton (FL) High School, Byars II is attempting to be a standout Big Ten running back just like his father was at Ohio State.
WR: Odell Beckham Jr., LSU – The Tigers’ leading receiver in 2012 was seemingly born and bred to be a Bayou Bengal by his father, Odell Sr. (a former standout RB), and mother, Heather Van Norman (an ex-LSU All-American in track).
WR: Breshad Perriman, UCF – A Conference USA All-Freshman selection in 2012, Brett Perriman’s son is projected to be the Knights’ No. 1 receiver this fall.
WR: Torii Hunter Jr., Notre Dame – The son of nine-time Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter will be a speedy downfield threat and will also suit up for the Irish’s baseball team next spring.
WR: Eric Dungy, Oregon – The second of former NFL head coach Tony Dungy’s five sons has seven total receptions (for 75 yards and one TD) in his first two seasons with the Ducks.
WR: Kodi Whitfield, Stanford – Will the son of former Cardinal All-American OL Bob Whitfield benefit from Stanford’s added emphasis on involving the WRs in the passing game?
WR: Jonathan Warner (Penn State) – Curt Warner starred for the Nittany Lions carrying the ball. His redshirt freshman son — a late-blooming, work-in-progress WR — hopes to contribute in 2013 by catching it.
WR: Cayleb Jones (Texas) – The son of former 10-year NFL linebacker Robert Jones is a potential Longhorns deep threat but will miss the 2013 opener after an offseason arrest for assault.
TE: Zeke Pike (Louisville) – Former Buffalo Bills DE Mark Pike’s son had an embarrassing exit from Auburn last August. He’s starting over at Louisville, where he’s converted from QB to TE.
TE: Jake Golic (Cincinnati) – Mostly a special teamer at Notre Dame, the youngest of Mike Golic’s two sons is eligible to play immediately after graduating and transferring to Cincy in May.
OL: Andrus Peat (Stanford) – Peat’s father, Todd, spent six seasons in the NFL. That could very well be Andrus’ trajectory as a player after averaging 20 snaps/game on the Cardinal’s burly offensive line as a freshman last year.
OL: Kyle Kalis (Michigan) – After a spring that had Wolverines OC Al Borges raving about him, Kalis is projected to more than live up to the standard set by his father Todd, a former longtime guard with the Minnesota Vikings.
DL: Mario Edwards Jr. (Florida State) – A potential star on the Seminoles’ defensive line, Edwards Jr. will have his father — a former FSU cornerback who’s starting his second year as the program’s player development director — looking proudly on.
DB: Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama – The fourth-leading tackler on Alabama’s top-ranked defense last year is the son of a longtime college assistant (Sal) and younger brother of a former Pitt QB (Tino).
DB: A.J. Highsmith, Miami (FL) – Highsmith arrived at “The U” as a quarterback in 2009 before redshirting in ’11 and converting to defense. Now, the son of former Hurricanes RB Alonzo Highsmith is poised for a solid senior season.
DB: Adam Griffin, Ohio State – It’s not easy being the son of a Buckeyes icon, yet Archie Griffin’s redshirt junior son has made his presence felt as a solid special teams player for his father’s alma mater.