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2013 College Football Recruits With Famous Dads

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  • Corey Robinson (Notre Dame, WR)

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    There is immense pressure on all the college football recruits who sign with teams on Wednesday to live up to expectations. For the following eight players, that pursuit has an extra wrinkle to it: Their dads were (or still are) stars in their chosen professions. We explore those father-son relationships and whether we can expect similarly great things from the brethren.

    Robinson didn’t show up on recruiters’ radars until a star showing at the Army All-American Bowl Combine in January 2012. His senior season at San Antonio Christian (1,414 yards and 20 TDs) showed that his four-star status was well earned in advance of his arrival in South Bend.

    Like his two-time NBA champion dad David, Robinson is tall (6-foot-4) and might be still growing (the elder Robinson predicts his son will fill out at 6-foot-8, 240 pounds). And like his father, Corey possesses a keen intellect: He graduated high school in three-and-a-half years with a 4.4 GPA.

  • Kelvin Taylor (Florida, RB)

    Few running backs in the Class of 2013 were as highly sought after as the all-time leading rusher in Florida high school history (12,121). Ranked the No. 38 overall recruit in the country by Rivals, the 5-foot-11, 216-pounder had offers from seven SEC programs in addition to Florida State, Miami (FL) and South Florida.

    Yet like his dad Fred, a 1997 First Team All-American who spent 13 seasons in the NFL, Taylor is taking his act to Gainesville. With “Taylor” emblazoned on the back of the same No. 21 jersey that Fred wore with the Gators, comparisons are sure to be made — even if Taylor the younger wants to blaze his own path.

    “He’s my father, and I love him, but my dad had his thing,” Kelvin told USA Today in October. “I have my own.”

  • Ray Lewis III (Miami [FL], RB)

    At 5-foot-9 and 192 pounds, the younger Lewis isn’t nearly as physically imposing as his father (few people are). But from the sounds of it, he’s got speed to burn. The three-star recruit averaged 13.2 YPC as a junior and 10.0 YPC as a senior while running for or catching 57 TDs in his final two seasons at Lake Mary (FL) Prep.

    In following his father’s footsteps to “The U,” the younger Lewis — who was raised by his mother, Tatyana McCall, the mother of two of the elder Lewis’ five other children — fully understands the pressure he’ll face. And he sounds more than ready for it.

    “My dad really just always preached to me to just ignore all of that,” he recently told the Orlando Sentinel. “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. I don’t have to please anybody else.”

  • K.J. Malone (LSU, OL)

    The elder Malone’s chiseled physique always looked like it was built for a football field. So it’s not entirely surprising that his son grew up with a penchant for pancake blocks rather than his father’s love of “delivering the mail.”

    “He can play basketball,” The Mailman said in an April 2011 story for ESPN, “but really and truly, I’d like him to do his own thing.”

    At 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds, K.J. Malone — the nation’s 35th-best O-line prospect, according to Rivals — certainly has the physical traits to succeed in college football’s toughest conference. The Ruston native no doubt hopes for a career trajectory similar to that of half-brother Demetress Bell, a former Northwestern (LA) State offensive tackle who’s now with the Philadelphia Eagles.

  • Kevin Ferguson II (TBD, RB)

    Two decades after he flamed out as a football player following brief stints at “The U” and the Miami Dolphins, former MMA star and current boxer Kimbo Slice (real name: Kevin Ferguson) is hoping that one of his sons can find success on the college gridiron.

    The leading rusher, scorer and tackler on a Coral Springs (FL) High School team that went 3–7 this past fall, Slice’s younger namesake — who looks more like Slice’s brother than son — has reportedly received interest from Florida Atlantic, Florida International, South Florida, Louisville, Kansas State and Miami (FL). But the younger Ferguson does not show up in the databases of either Scout or Rivals and there are no reports as to where he is headed for school.

    Yet just as his father fought (literally) his way to fame, Ferguson II plans on taking any chance he is given and running hard with it — something he says he owes to a dad who still loves football.

  • Deion Sanders Jr. (SMU, WR)

    The Mustangs can proudly boast that they’ll have the next Deion Sanders on their roster next year. Alas, SMU fans would be wise not to expect “Prime Time”-esque levels of greatness from the former Florida State star’s eldest son.

    For starters, Sanders Jr. is slight (5-foot-7, 170 pounds). And Rivals had him as just a two-star prospect during his senior season at Marcus High in Flower Mound, TX. 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.)

    But who knows? With SMU running that Run ‘N Shoot under head coach June Jones, Sanders Jr. might just put up decent numbers at the college level.

  • Torii Hunter Jr. (Notre Dame, WR)

    We’re sure that Brian Kelly’s recruiting criteria did not consist of “find players with famous fathers that were stars in sports other than football.” It’s just a funny coincidence that two Notre Dame WR recruits fit that descriptor: Corey Robinson and Torii Hunter Jr.

    Unlike Robinson, Hunter Jr. has been a bona fide prospect for a while. The Irish were one of 13 teams to offer a scholarship to the speedy four-star wideout, who averaged 17.4 YPC to go along with 1,235 yards and 14 TDs as a senior at Prosper (TX) High.

    In South Bend, it’s not just deep balls that Hunter Jr. will be tracking down. A five-tool centerfielder who reminds many scouts of his father - nine-time Gold Glover Torii Hunter - he’ll also play baseball at Notre Dame.

    Do the Irish have the next Jeff Samardzija on their hands?

  • Nico Marley (Tulane, LB)

    The undersized (5-foot-7, 182 pounds) Green Wave commit is a grandson of reggae legend Bob Marley. And Nico’s father, Rohan — the co-founder of both a clothing line (Tuff Gong) and a coffee company (Jammin Java Corp) — is no slouch either.

    If Nico has anyone to thank for his football genes, it’s Rohan, a former undersized linebacker in his own right who led Miami (FL) with 95 tackles during the 1993 season. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Marley led Weston (FL) Cypress Bay High in tackles each of his final three seasons.

    “I’ve never seen someone manhandle him,” Cypress Bay coach Mark Guandolo said in January. “He takes people on, is always productive, always around the ball. He’s thick. He’s strong. He’s a bull. He has that Marley spirit, just something so strong that gets us all going.”

    A spirit that Tulane hopes can reverse the fortunes of a moribund program.

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