Pro Athletes and Their Spawn: 2017 Edition

Pro Athletes and Their Spawn: 2017 Edition

March 31, 2017

Derrick Brooks (image via Tampa Bay Times)

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In what has become a yearly tradition, I tried to keep track of some noteworthy players’ sons in the 2017 recruiting class. Several former Detroit Lions have sons who are matriculating into the world of college football, and there are many others, too. You can also check out former years’ posts (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012)

DeCalon Brooks – LB – Tampa (FL) Gaither: Brooks is a 5’11”, 197 lb. outside linebacker who signed with the Florida State Seminoles. He turned down offers from Illinois, Iowa, and Louisville to become a Seminole. He’s a 247 Composite 3-star, the #52 inside linebacker, and #1174 overall. He is the son of former Florida State linebacker Derrick Brooks, who was a 1st round pick (#28 overall) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995 and played through 2008. He’s now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after making 11 Pro Bowls, 1715 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 25 interceptions, and 7 total touchdowns throughout his career.

Germane Crowell – CB – Winston Salem (NC) Carver: Crowell is a 6’3″, 180-pounder who enrolled early at Virginia. He’s a 3-star, the #41 athlete, and #557 overall, and he spurned offers from the likes of Georgia and Notre Dame to attend his dad’s alma mater. The elder Germane Crowell was a 2nd round pick (#50 overall) of the Detroit Lions in 1998. He caught 184 passes for 2,722 yards and 16 touchdowns during a five-year career with the Lions. He was the head coach at Carver and amassed a 33-18 record over the past several years, but he resigned in December of 2016.

Luther Elliss (image via Detroit Lions)

Christian Elliss – LB – Littleton (CO) Valor Christian: Elliss is a 6’3″, 215 lb. prospect who signed with Idaho. He’s a 2-star, the #207 outside linebacker, and #3067 overall. For more on his bloodlines, see the Noah Elliss entry below.

Noah Elliss – DT – Littleton (CO) Valor Christian: Elliss is a 6’4″, 330 lb. prospect who signed with Mississippi State. He’s a 3-star, the #23 defensive tackle, and #344 overall. Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and USC also offered Elliss, so the choice of Mississippi State was odd. Furthermore, Michigan was in need of defensive tackles, so I thought it was possible that the Wolverines would extend an offer, especially considering where his “dad” spent his NFL career. Luther Elliss played his college ball at Utah before becoming a 1st round pick (#20 overall) of the Detroit Lions in 1995. A two-time Pro Bowler for the Lions, he made 331 tackles and 29 sacks during a ten-year career, the last season of which he played for the Denver Broncos. Noah is actually Luther Elliss’s biological nephew, but Luther adopted him.

Hit the jump for a gaggle of more players and their dads.

Zach Feagles – P – Glen Rock (NJ) Ridgewood: Feagles is a 6’2″, 210 lb. punter who signed with Miami. He’s a 3-star, the #5 punter, and #1735 overall, and he played in the Under Armour All-American Game. He’s the son of Jeff Feagles, who also played for the Hurricanes and went undrafted in 1988. Jeff then embarked on a 22-year career spent with the Patriots, Eagles, Cardinals, Seahawks, and Giants. He holds a few NFL records, including consecutive games played (352), most punts (1,713), and most punting yards (71,211).

*Kedonis Haslem – OG – Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas: Haslem is a 6’3″, 290-pounder who signed with Toledo. He also reported offers from Michigan, South Carolina, and West Virginia, and he was rated as a 3-star, the #35 offensive guard, and #744 overall. That name is very similar to that of his father, Udonis Haslem. The elder Haslem is a power forward for the Miami Heat and has been since 2003, shortly after he ended his career for the Florida Gators. During his NBA career, he has averaged 7.8 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game, and 0.9 assists per game while shooting 49.2%.

*Jaden Hunter – LB – Atlanta (GA) Westlake: Hunter is a 6’2″, 212 lb. player who signed with Georgia. He’s a 4-star, the #9 outside linebacker, and #137 overall. His father, Brice, was a standout receiver at Georgia and was a 7th round pick (#251 overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996. He spent two seasons with the Bucs, making 4 catches for 73 yards and 1 touchdown, before being shot and killed in Chicago in 2004.

Keyshawn Johnson (image via The Movie Mind)

Keyshawn Johnson, Jr. – WR – Calabasas (CA) Calabasas: Johnson is a 6’1″, 175 lb. player who enrolled early at Nebraska in January; he also fielded offers from Alabama, Cal, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State, UCLA, and USC, among others. He was a 3-star, the #49 wide receiver, and #342 overall. He is, of course, the son of Keyshawn Johnson, the former USC wideout who was a 1st round pick (#1 overall) by the New York Jets in 1996. Johnson, Sr. was a Consensus All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year for the Trojans, and he was a three-time Pro Bowler in the NFL. In an eleven-year career with the Jets, Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Panthers, he caught 814 passes for 10,571 yards and 64 touchdowns, but he’s perhaps best known for his volatile and outspoken nature. On another note, he is largely responsible for the trend we still see today of wide receivers with numbers in the teens rather than the eighties. Johnson wore #19 throughout his career.

*Bruce Jordan-Swilling – LB – New Orleans (LA) Brother Martin: Jordan-Swilling is a 6’0″, 215-pounder who signed with Georgia Tech. He’s a 4-star, the #12 outside linebacker, and #213 overall. He’s rated by some services as a running back, though he played linebacker in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. New Orleans Saints fans have fond memories of his father, Pat Swilling, who was part of a highly touted group of linebackers in the 1980s and early 1990s. After being picked in the 3rd round (#60 overall) of the 1986 NFL Drafted out of Georgia Tech, he played with standout linebacker teammates Rickey Jackson, Sam Mills, and Vaughan Johnson, a group known as the “Dome Patrol.” His career accolades include being a First Team All-American in 1985, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1991, and a five-time Pro Bowler.

*Dylan McCaffrey – QB – Littleton (CO) Valor Christian: If you’re a fan of this blog and Michigan football, you know most of what you need to know about Dylan McCaffrey. His father is former Stanford, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, and Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. A Pennsylvania native, Ed was an All-American wideout for the Cardinal and became a 3rd round pick (#83 overall) of the Giants in 1991. He won three Super Bowls and was named to the Pro Bowl once. In his career, he caught 565 passes for 7,422 yards and 55 touchdowns. Another son, Max, was a wide receiver at Duke; another is Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, who is entering the NFL Draft; and the youngest is Luke, who is a 2019 quarterback prospect for Valor Christian.

Jalen McKenzie – OT – Concord (CA) Clayton Valley: McKenzie is a 6’4″, 307 lb. prospect who committed to USC in January. He also had offers from Arizona State, Miami, and UCLA, among others. He’s a 3-star, the #24 offensive tackle, and #424 overall. His father, Reggie McKenzie, was a 10th round draft pick (#275 overall) in 1985 out of Tennessee. A 6’1″, 240 lb. linebacker, he made 2 interceptions and 3 sacks during an NFL career from 1985-1992. He worked in the personnel department for the Green Bay Packers from 1994-2011 before being hired as the Oakland Raiders general manager in 2012.

Elijah Molden – CB – West Linn (OR) West Linn: Molden is a 5’11”, 185 lb. prospect who signed with Washington. He’s a 4-star, the #24 cornerback, and #187 overall. His father is former Oregon cornerback Alex Molden (11 interceptions during his college career), who went on to go in the 1st round (#11 overall) to the New Orleans Saints in the 1996 NFL Draft. ranked him as the 10th-worst pick in Saints history back in 2011. He played five seasons for the Saints, two for the Chargers, and one for the Lions, ending his career with 296 tackles, 5 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and 12 interceptions.

Robert Porcher (image via NFL Player Engagement)

*Robert Porcher IV – DE – Orlando (FL) Dr. Phillips: Porcher is a 6’3″, 245 lb. end who was committed to Nebraska at one point before finally signing with Virginia Tech. He’s a 3-star, the #41 weakside end, and #655 overall. As a senior in 2016, he made 104 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, and 17 sacks. Detroit Lions fans almost certainly recognize his name and realize he’s the son of former Lions great Robert Porcher. The elder Porcher was a 1st round draft pick (#26 overall) out of South Carolina State in 1992 and spent his entire career with the Lions, retiring after the 2003 season. He finished his NFL run with 603 tackles, 95.5 sacks, and 1 interception, and as a three-time Pro Bowler. His career sack total is 20 takedowns better than #2 on the team’s all-time list, Al “Bubba” Baker, and he’s #39 in NFL history.

*Amari Rodgers – WR – Knoxville (TN) Catholic: Rodgers is a 5’9″, 221 lb. prospect who signed with Clemson. He also had offers from Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Tennessee, and others. He’s a 4-star, the #15 wide receiver, and #115 overall. His father is Tee Martin, who succeed Peyton Manning at the University of Tennessee. Martin was picked in the 5th round (#163 overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft and spent a bit of time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, and some CFL teams. He has since coached at Kentucky and USC, where he’s the offensive coordinator.

Damani Staley – LB – Columbia (SC) Ridge View: Staley is a 6’1″, 215 lb. linebacker who signed with South Carolina. He’s a 3-star, the #73 linebacker, and #1119 overall. His father, Duce, is a South Carolina native who also went to South Carolina. During his college career in Columbia, he ran 345 times for 1,852 yards (5.4 yards/carry) and 18 touchdowns; he also caught 59 passes for 489 yards and 2 scores. He was drafted in the 3rd round (#71 overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997. He would go on to spend seven years with the Eagles and three with the Pittsburgh Steelers, amassing 1,430 carries for 5,785 yards (4.0 yards/carry) and 24 touchdowns, along with 287 catches for 2,587 yards and 10 more scores. He has been coaching in some capacity or another for the Eagles since 2010, where he is currently the running backs coach.

*Tre Swilling – CB – New Orleans (LA) Brother Martin: Swilling is a 6’0″, 180 lb. corner who also signed with Georgia Tech, just like his brother (see Bruce Jordan-Swilling above). Tre is a 3-star, the #46 cornerback, and #446 overall.

Terius Wheatley – ATH – Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer/Fork Union Military Academy (VA): Wheatley wasn’t recruited out of high school at Pioneer, and he ended up at Fork Union. The move paid off, because he ended up as a 3-star, the #1 athlete, and #5 overall coming out of prep schools. He enrolled at Virginia Tech in January, where he’s listed as a 5’11”, 185 lb. running back on the spring roster. His father is, of course, former Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley, who also coached at Michigan from 2015-2016. He’s Michigan’s #5 all-time rushing leader and was a 1st round pick (#17 overall) of the New York Giants in 1995. He was the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year in 1992 and a Big Ten sprint champion in track. In a ten-year career with the Giants and Raiders, he had 4,962 rushing yards and 47 total touchdowns. He has since spent time coaching at Dearborn (MI) Robichaud, Syracuse, the Buffalo Bills, and Michigan before joining the Jacksonville Jaguars staff this off-season.

Russ Yeast – CB – Greenwood (IN) Center Grove: Yeast is a 5’10”, 178 lb. prospect who was originally thought to be a wide receiver prospect, but he converted to corner late in his career and plans to play defense in college. He was a 4-star, the #33 cornerback, and #281 overall. His father, Craig Yeast, was a star wide receiver for Kentucky and the primary target of former #1 overall pick Tim Couch. Yeast made 208 catches for 2,899 yards and 28 touchdowns during his four years at Kentucky, plus another 4 touchdowns on kickoff and punt returns. Concluding his college career in 1998, he became a 4th round pick (#98 overall) of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1999. He had a promising rookie year with 2 punt return touchdowns on just 10 attempts, but he only made 27 catches for 321 yards and 0 touchdowns as a receiver during two years with the Bengals and one with the Jets. He would add over 2,000 yards receiving, 14 receiving touchdowns, and 2 punt return touchdowns during a CFL career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Rough Riders before hanging it up in 2008. Yeast spent some time coaching at Fremont (OH) Ross High School before moving on to coach at Franklin College, a D-III school, in 2016.

*Offered by Michigan

What do you remember most about the dads mentioned?

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