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June 19, 2011
Top 10 father-and-son football combos
Sons often follow in their father's footsteps or enter the family business. It just draws more attention when those footsteps are taken on a football field and the family business is conducted in sold-out stadiums.
Genetics can make college football fans frenetic. If a father could star and lead the way to victory on crisp autumn Saturdays, then his son should be able to do the same, right? It's all in the genes.
Few things mean more to an athlete than basking in the glory of a big victory. But it may be even greater to watch your son bask in that glory.
In some cases, such as LSU's Billy Cannon and Texas A&M's Billy Cannon, Jr., the sons didn't reach the status that dad did. In other cases, such as Ohio State's Shawn Springs and his dad, Ron, the sons surpassed the accomplishments of their fathers.
A long, long list could be compiled of sons who followed in the footsteps of their fathers and achieved college football stardom, so in honor of Father's Day, here's our top 10 father-and-son combinations in college football history.
10. DT Billy Ray Smith and DE Billy Ray Smith Jr., both Arkansas: The senior Smith was an All-Southwest Conference selection at defensive tackle in 1956 and helped the Razorbacks win the SWC championship in 1954. He was named to Arkansas' All-Decade team of the '50s, was included on the school's All-Century team and is a member of the Arkansas Hall of Honor. He also had a long career in the NFL. His son did even better. Billy Ray Jr. was a consensus All-America defensive end in 1981 and '82, was a member of Arkansas' All-Decade team of the '80s and also was on the All-Century team. Possessing exceptional quickness for a defensive end, he finished his career at Arkansas with 299 total tackles and set a school record with 63 tackles for loss. He was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. Smith Jr. was the first defensive player taken in the 1983 NFL draft (fifth overall) and played 10 seasons with the San Diego Chargers.
9. DT Rubin Carter, Miami, and DE Andre Carter, California: Rubin was an All-America nose guard for the Hurricanes in 1974 and the MVP of the '75 Hula Bowl all-star game. He was a fifth-round selection of the Denver Broncos in the '75 NFL draft and played 12 seasons in the NFL; he also has been an NFL assistant. He was inducted into the UM Hall of Fame in 1992 and currently is the defensive line coach at New Mexico. Andre was a unanimous All-Pac-10 defensive end as a junior and senior and a consensus All-America pick as a senior in 2000. He was also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. He was the seventh player selected in the 2001 NFL draft, by San Francisco. He's now an end with the Washington Redskins.
8. QB Oliver Luck, West Virginia, and QB Andrew Luck, Stanford: The senior Luck was a three-year starter at WVU and was a two-time Academic All-American. He left West Virginia in 1981 with several school passing records. He was selected in the second round of the 1982 NFL draft and played four years in the NFL. He now is the athletic director at his alma mater. Andrew, a junior at Stanford, already has earned All-America honors and more. He's 19-5 as a starting quarterback and last season led the Cardinal to a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl victory. Luck was the runner-up in last season's Heisman voting, was named the Pac-10 offensive player of the year and was the Orange Bowl MVP after throwing four touchdown passes. He likely would have been the first player taken in the 2011 NFL draft, but opted to return to Stanford to complete his degree in architecture.
7. RB Craig Heyward, Pittsburgh, and DL Cameron Heyward, Ohio State: "Ironhead" Heyward was a bruiser who led Pitt in rushing three times. One of those was the 1987 season, when he gained 1,791 yards, was named an All-American and finished fifth in the Heisman voting. He was the 24th player selected in the 1988 NFL draft and played 11 seasons in the league. His son, Cameron, was a defensive lineman who posted 15 career sacks for the Buckeyes. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and a first-teamer in 2010. He was the first-round selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers in this year's NFL draft.
6. DL Steve Delong and LB Keith DeLong, both Tennessee: The DeLongs are considered among the greatest players in Tennessee history. Steve was a two-time All-American and the 1964 Outland Trophy recipient. Three times, he was cited by SEC coaches as the conference's best defensive linemen. He was the first-round choice of the Chicago Bears in 1965, and played eight combined seasons in the NFL and AFL. Keith was an All-SEC and All-American linebacker for the Vols in 1988. He was a first-round selection of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1989 draft and played five seasons for the Niners.
5. QB Bob Griese, Purdue, and QB Brian Griese, Michigan: Bob Griese earned All-American honors in 1965 and '66 while leading Purdue to a 16-4-2 record in those seasons. He was runner-up, to Steve Spurrier, in the 1966 Heisman voting. That season, Griese led Purdue to a 14-13 victory over USC in the Rose Bowl, the Boilermakers' last Rose Bowl victory. Griese played 14 years with the Miami Dolphins and led them to three Super Bowl titles; he is a member of the college and pro football halls of fame. His son, Brian, went to Michigan as a walk-on and worked his way up to starting quarterback as sophomore year. He was 17-5 as the Wolverines' starter and led Michigan to three victories over Ohio State and a share of the national championship in 1997. He was an All-Big Ten selection and later played 11 years in the NFL after being a third-round pick by Denver in 1998. Brian also followed his dad into the commentator ranks and currently works for ABC/ESPN; Bob retired as an analyst after the 2009 season.
4. TE Kellen Winslow, Missouri, and TE Kellen Winslow Jr., Miami: The elder Winslow was one of the first tight ends to be a deep threat. He was a two-time All-Big Eight selection and a consensus All-America in 1978, when he averaged 16.5 yards on 29 catches. He was the 13th player selected in the 1979 NFL draft and played nine seasons in the NFL. He was named to the college and pro football halls of fame. As a true freshman, Kellen II played on Miami's 2001 national championship team. The next year, he set a Miami record for receptions by a tight end with 57 and was a finalist for the John Mackey Award as the country's premier tight end. As a junior, he won the Mackey Award and was a consensus All-American selection. He declared for the 2004 NFL draft and was the sixth player selected. He now plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
3. WR Mark Ingram, Michigan State, and RB Mark Ingram, Alabama: The senior Ingram led the Spartans in receiving in 1984 and '85 and earned All-Big Ten recognition in 1986, when he led the team in all-purpose yardage. He was a first-round draft choice of the NFL's New York Giants in 1987 and played 10 seasons in the NFL. His son was an All-American and won the Heisman while leading Alabama to the 2009 national championship. He rushed for 1,658 yards that season and 3,289 in his three-year college career. Ingram Jr. was selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. Both Ingrams were the 28th player selected in the draft.
2. LB Clay Matthews Jr. USC, and LB Clay Matthews III, USC, and LB Casey Matthews, Oregon: Clay Jr. was an All-America linebacker at USC in 1977, a two-time all conference selection and a member of the Trojans' 1974 national championship team. He posted 266 career tackles at USC, then went on to play 278 games in the NFL. Son Clay III was an All-Pac-10 selection in 2008 and was named USC's special teams player of the year three times. He was a first-round selection of the Green Bay Packers in the 2009 NFL draft, and was named the NFC defensive player of the year in 2010 while helping the Packers win the Super Bowl. Casey Matthews was named All-Pac-10 last season while helping Oregon reach the national championship game. He was a fourth-round selection of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL draft in April.
1. QB Archie Manning, Ole Miss, and QB Peyton Manning, Tennessee, and QB Eli Manning, Ole Miss: The elder Manning was a Heisman finalist in 1969 and '70, when he earned All-SEC and All-American honors. He led Ole Miss to three consecutive bowl appearances and led the Rebels in rushing and passing in '69. He remains the most beloved Ole Miss athlete in school history, and the speed limit on campus is 18 mph in honor of his jersey number. Archie was the second player selected in the 1971 NFL draft, and he played 14 seasons in the NFL. Peyton, the second of his three sons, set numerous single-season and career passing records at Tennessee, where he earned All-SEC and All-American recognition. He passed for 11,201 yards in his Vols career and was the runner-up in the 1997 Heisman voting. A road near Neyland Stadium has been named Peyton Manning Pass in his honor. He was the first player taken in the 1998 NFL draft and continues to star for the Indianapolis Colts. Eli, the third of Archie's sons, set Ole Miss school records with 10,119 passing yards and 81 touchdown passes. He was an All-SEC and All-America selection and a Heisman finalist in 2003. Like his brother, he was the first player taken in the NFL draft, in 2004. And, like his brother, he has led his team (the New York Giants) to a Super Bowl title.
Olin Buchanan is a senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.