It's been 24 years since Chidi Ahanotu terrorized Pac-10 backfields as a California defensive end, and now, his son, Mayan Ahanotu, coincidentally attending Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla., is following in his father's footsteps, getting an offer from the Bears on Monday.
"It was a great moment," said Ahanotu, who was told by his coach, Dominick Ciao, that he received the offer on Monday morning. He will be speaking with head coach Justin Wilcox, himself, on Tuesday. "Right after coach told me I had got offered I called my dad and told him the news. He was so happy for me. It means so much because my father went to Cal and I have a lot of family in the Berkeley area. I am just really grateful to be offered by this program."
Chidi, at first, didn't want his son to follow in his cleats. He was too concerned about concussions, and had in fact been a part of litigation with the NFL regarding concussions. But, Mayan was persistent. He kept pressing, kept pushing, until, in eighth grade, Chidi relented.
"I just told him that this was my passion and I am serious about this game of football," Mayan said. "He always tells me that the game of football is a war and you have to be a soldier to play it. I told him I am ready to become a soldier then."
There was one condition: Chidi would be the one to give his son the proper weaponry.
"During my eighth grade year my dad trained me to get ready for high school ball," Mayan said. "We would just go out to the nearest field and work on technique and explosion on the weekends.
"Ever since I was a little kid and decided that I wanted to play football my dad has taught me a lot about the game of football and how to play the position that I play."
Now, Mayan is 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end, and the Cal staff thinks he could grow into a run-plugging defensive tackle, from what he's been told. He currently plays both defensive tackle and defensive end in a 4-3 system.
"They like my film a lot they said and think I have a lot of potential," Mayan said. "I think they see me playing more of an interior lineman."
Last season, the younger Ahanotu racked up 54 tackles and 15.0 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hurries and 3.5 sacks. Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa State have come calling, and are recruiting Ahanotu the hardest. Ahanotu has 14 offers, but the one he got on Monday, from his father's alma mater, is different.
Chidi hasn't said much to his son about his days in Berkeley, only that the school is a "great education," and that Cal has a great athletic history, but it's an offer that truly stands out for the Cal legacy, who has a 3.3 GPA.
"I am truly greatly to receive an offer from Cal this early," Mayan said. "I only have a couple of power five offers. This is one of them. I find this offer unique because it is the alma mater of my father."