Commentary

College football's familiar names

Updated: August 16, 2010, 11:49 AM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Want to feel old?

[+] EnlargeJohn Brantley
Kim Klement/US PresswireJohn Brantley has multiple shadows to emerge from: his father's and Tim Tebow's.

Check out some of the names on the back of college football jerseys this season. You'll see the familiar names of your father's heroes and even some of your own.

There are famous names such as Collinsworth, Montana, Rice and Simms.

Maybe football mortality isn't won through blood, sweat and tears. Maybe it's just genes.

Here's a look at some familiar father-son combinations in college football in 2010:

1. Emory and Jeff Blake
Father Jeff was a quarterback for seven different NFL teams during his 14 years as a pro, after a standout career at East Carolina. His best NFL season came when he was named to the Pro Bowl in 1995. Son Emory is a sophomore receiver at Auburn. He had nine catches for 66 yards in 2009.

2. John and John Brantley
Son John will try to fill the biggest shoes in college football in 2010 when he replaces '07 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow as Florida's starting quarterback. Brantley's pedigree suggests he'll get the job done. His father, John Brantley III, was Florida's starting quarterback and his uncle, Scot, was an All-America linebacker for the Gators. Kerwin Bell, another former UF quarterback, was John's high school coach at Trinity Catholic in Ocala, Fla.

3. Drew and Kevin Butler
Kevin Butler kicked footballs off the ground; son Drew kicks them out of his hands. Kevin was an All-America kicker at Georgia in the early 1980s, then played 13 seasons for the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals. He set an NCAA record with a 52.4 percent success rate on field-goal attempts of 50 yards or longer. He kicked a 60-yarder to beat Clemson 26-23 in 1984, and was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. Drew won the Ray Guy Award as the country's top punter at UGA last season, averaging 48.4 yards with 24 punts of 50 yards or longer.

4. Austin and Cris Collinsworth
Few NFL receivers have had the same combination of size and speed as Cris, who had 417 catches for 6,698 yards with 36 touchdowns during an eight-year career with the Cincinnati Bengals. You still hear the three-time Pro Bowler analyzing NFL games on TV on Sunday nights. Austin, a running back who helped lead Fort Thomas (Ky.) Highlands to a state championship last season, was the first player to verbally commit to new Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly in December. He will play wide receiver for the Fighting Irish.

5. Jake, Mike and Mike Golic
Maybe the Irish have a thing for famous sports analysts' sons. Father Mike and his brother, Bob, were standout lineman at Notre Dame and in the NFL. Mike is now co-host of ESPN Radio's popular "Mike & Mike" morning show. Mike Golic Jr. is a junior center at Notre Dame; younger brother Jake is a sophomore tight end.

6. Darrell and Jared Green
Jared spent the past two seasons as a wide receiver at Virginia, trying to beat cornerbacks. He'll never face a better one than his father, Darrell, who was perhaps the greatest cornerback in NFL history. Darrell was a seven-time Pro Bowler and won two Super Bowl titles with the Washington Redskins. Jared delivered his father's presentation speech into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Jared's teammate, cornerback Chase Minnifield, is the son of former NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Frank Minnifield.

7. Bobby and T-Bob Hebert
Did you really think a son of the "Cajun Cannon" was going to play college football anywhere but LSU? Bobby was a standout quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, helping the Saints make their first NFL playoff appearance. T-Bob, who grew up in Atlanta, was LSU's starting center for most of the 2009 season. He's coming back from a broken leg he suffered during spring practice.

[+] EnlargeCameron Heyward
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireCameron Heyward spends most of his time in the opposition's backfield.

8. Cameron and Craig Heyward
Son Cameron, a senior defensive end at Ohio State, is a split image of his late father, Craig, who earned the moniker "Ironhead" during his 11-year NFL career. Craig, who died from a brain tumor in 2006, ran for 4,301 yards and 30 touchdowns in the NFL, after a standout career at Pittsburgh. Cameron is a preseason All-America candidate after finishing with 10 tackles for loss and 6½ sacks as a junior for the Buckeyes in 2009.

9. Mark and Mark Ingram
The elder Ingram was a standout receiver at Michigan State and first-round pick by the New York Giants in the 1987 NFL draft. He helped the Giants win Super Bowl XXV in 1991 by eluding five tackles and hopping on one leg to make a key first down in the 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The younger Ingram became Alabama's first Heisman Trophy winner last season, rushing for a school-record 1,658 yards with 17 touchdowns. He helped the Crimson Tide win the 2009 BCS national championship.

10. Andrew and Oliver Luck
Both West Virginia and Stanford were lucky to have a Luck playing under center. Father Oliver was the Mountaineers' starting quarterback from 1978 to '81 and left with school records in touchdown passes (43), completions (466) and attempts (911). He was a second-round draft choice of the Houston Oilers in 1982. Son Andrew was one of the country's best quarterbacks as a redshirt freshman at Stanford last season, throwing for 2,575 yards with 13 touchdowns. His 143.5 passer rating led the Pac-10.

11. Casey and Clay Matthews
Talk about having to carry the family name. Casey's father, Clay, was an All-America linebacker at USC and 19-year NFL veteran. His uncle, Bruce, was one of the best offensive lineman in NFL history, and his grandfather, Clay, played in the NFL during the 1950s. Two of Casey's brothers, Kyle and Clay, played at USC. Casey was Oregon's second-leading tackler last season with 81 stops.

12. T.J., Tevin and Tim McDonald
T.J. hopes to follow in his father's footsteps at USC, where he's battling for a starting safety job in preseason camp. Father Tim was an All-America safety as a senior in 1986 and a six-time Pro Bowler in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals and san Francisco 49ers. T.J. and younger brother Tevin both played for their father at Edison High School in Fresno, Calif., Tim's alma mater. Tevin broke family tradition in February when he accepted a scholarship at UCLA.

13. Dave and Davin Meggett
Despite his 5-foot-8 frame, Davin is one of Maryland's toughest players, finishing second on the team in rushing in each of the past two seasons. His father, Dave, was a "Mighty Mouse" in 10 NFL seasons. At 5-foot-7, Dave was one of the NFL's most dangerous punt and kickoff returners. He had 129 all-purpose yards in the New York Giants' 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.

14. Jared and Stump Mitchell
Father Stump played running back for nine seasons for the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL, running for 4,649 yards with 41 touchdowns. He worked as an assistant coach in college and the pros, and was named head coach at Southern University in December. Son Jared was a defensive back at Ole Miss last season, before moving to wide receiver this spring. His brother, Lionel, played football at Alabama.

15. Joe, Nate and Nick Montana
Of course, father Joe needs no introduction. He was known as "Joe Cool" during a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, in which he was a four-time Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP three times. Joe was best known for his clutch game-winning drives and dramatic finishes. Washington and Notre Dame can only hope his sons are as good under pressure. Nick was one of the country's most recruited quarterbacks as a high school senior in 2009 and is a freshman at Washington. Nate is a backup quarterback at Notre Dame, his father's alma mater.

[+] EnlargeNewton
Kirby Lee/US PresswireTexas' Tre' Newton took over as starting running back late in the 2009 season.

16. Nate and Tre' Newton
Nate blocked for one of the most famous trios in NFL history, helping former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, tailback Emmitt Smith and receiver Michael Irvin win Super Bowl rings in 1992, '93 and '95. He was a six-time Pro Bowler during his 14-year NFL career. Tre' led Texas in rushing last season as a freshman, finishing with 552 yards and six touchdowns on 116 carries. This season, Tre' becomes teammates with Jackson Jeffcoat, the son of Jim Jeffcoat, who was a standout defensive lineman on the Cowboys' 1992 and '93 championship teams.

17. Jerry and Jerry Rice
Father Jerry was the greatest receiver in NFL history, finishing his career with 1,549 catches for 22,895 yards with an NFL-record 197 receiving touchdowns. He was a 13-time Pro Bowler, won three Super Bowl rings with the 49ers and was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His son Jerry is a walk-on receiver at UCLA.

18. Matt and Phil Simms
Son Matt is the favorite to start at quarterback for Tennessee, after transferring there from El Camino (Calif.) Community College. He played two games at Louisville in 2008. His father, Phil, was one of the most underrated quarterbacks in NFL history, throwing for more than 33,000 yards and leading the New York Giants to a victory in Super Bowl XXI. Matt's older brother, Chris, is a backup quarterback with the Tennessee Titans.

19. Baker and Dean Steinkuhler
Father Dean paved holes for Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier at Nebraska in the early 1980s. Son Baker was a backup behind one of the best defensive tackles in college football history last season, Ndamukong Suh. Dean won the Outland and Lombardi trophies in 1983 and was the No. 2 pick by the Houston Oilers in the 1984 NFL draft. The Cornhuskers retired his No. 71 jersey. Baker had 17 tackles as a redshirt freshman last season.

20. Al and Nick Toon
There are few players more revered in Wisconsin football history than Al Toon, who left school as the Badgers' all-time leader in catches (131), receiving yards (2,103) and touchdown receptions (19). Nick began to step out of his father's large shadow last season, after hauling in 54 catches for 805 yards with four touchdowns. His 805 receiving yards were second-most by a sophomore in school history.

Mark Schlabach covers college sports for ESPN.com. He co-authored Bobby Bowden's memoir, "Called To Coach," which was published by Simon & Schuster. The book will be available in bookstores Aug. 24 and can be preordered here. You can contact Mark at schlabachma@yahoo.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

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