All in the Family: Offensive Skill Players

Every year, numerous players joining the NFL come from families rich in athletic tradition. This is Part 1 of a three-part series about the draft-eligible players who had family members compete at either the collegiate or professional level in the world of sports.

QUARTERBACKS

B.J. Coleman

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Moccasins

When Coleman transferred from the University of Tennessee to Chattanooga, it seemed like a natural fit, as he was continuing the "family business." His father, Bryon, played four years at Chattanooga from 1977-80 and was a teammate of head coach Russ Huesman and assistant coach Russ Ehrenfeld. B.J.'s younger brother, Jarrod, is a tight end on the 2012 Moccasins squad.

Kirk Cousins

Michigan State University Spartans

Brother, Kyle, lettered four times as a pitcher at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.).

Austin Davis

University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

Much like B.J. Coleman's family ties to football, baseball seems to be part of the "family business" for Davis, as his younger brother, Bo, was member of the Southern Mississippi baseball team that went to the 2011 College World Series.

Their cousin, Jason Smith, was a professional outfielder who played in the Chicago Cubs (2006), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2002–2003), Detroit Tigers (2004–2005), Colorado Rockies (2006), Toronto Blue Jays (2007), Arizona Diamondbacks (2007), Kansas City Royals (2007–2008) and Houston Astros (2009) minor league organizations.

Ryan Lindley

San Diego State University Aztecs

Father, Tim. played water polo at Occidental College.

Andrew Luck

Stanford University Cardinal

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Luck has the mind-set of a pro passer. After all, quarterbacking is in his blood. Andrew's father, Oliver Luck, was a three-year starter at West Virginia from 1979-1981. After a record-breaking collegiate career, Oliver was drafted in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers and enjoyed a five-year professional career. He remains linked to football to this day, serving as the athletic director of his alma mater.

Kellen Moore

Boise State University Broncos

Moore lettered four times in both football and basketball at Prosser (Was.) High School. He played football for his father, Tom Moore, who served as the head coach for both of his sons. Kellen's brother, Kirby, was Kellen's high school teammate and is a starting wide receiver at Boise State.

Brock Osweiler

Arizona State University Sun Devils

Brother, Tanner, played football at Montana Tech.

Ryan Tannehill

Texas A&M University Aggies

Tannehill grew up a Texas Tech fan as his father, Tim, played football there from 1985-87. His mother also attended Tech. Growing up, Ryan went to watch Tech games each year and even sported a small Tech uniform as a child. Although Ryan aspired to play quarterback for Texas Tech, the school did not recruit him.

Russell Wilson

University of Wisconsin Badgers

His father, the late Harrison Wilson, III, played football and baseball at Dartmouth and was on the San Diego Chargers' preseason squad.

His older brother, Harrison IV, played football and baseball at Richmond.

THE WIDE RECEIVERS

Jeff Fuller

Texas A&M University Aggies

Fuller is not the first member of his family to excel on the gridiron. His father, Jeffery Avery Fuller, was a standout safety at Texas A&M (1980-83). He was drafted in the fifth round by San Francisco in 1984, playing for the 49ers from 1984-89, as he earned a pair of Super Bowl rings. Fuller suffered a career-ending spinal injury in October 1989 vs. the New England Patriots at Stanford Stadium. The game was played at Stanford University due to the Loma Prieta earthquake that damaged Candlestick Park. All-Pro safety Ronnie Lott stated that Fuller was one of the hardest-hitting safeties in the NFL. While he is able to walk, he is no longer able to use one of his arms due to the injury.

Chris Givens

Wake Forest University Demon Deacons

Brother of Wake Forest 2011 redshirt freshman tailback Nick Knott.

Stephen Hill

Georgia (Tech) Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets

Father, Henry, played basketball at Lake City College.

Alshon Jeffrey

University of South Carolina Gamecocks

Brother, Shamier, was a 2011 South Carolina signee, redshirting that season while performing as a receiver on the scout team.

Marvin Jones

University of California at Berkeley Golden Bears

Father, Marvin Jones Sr., wrestled at Cal State Bakersfield.

Rishard Matthews

University of Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack

Uncle, Clarenze McZiel, lettered in track at Lamar University.

Dale Moss

South Dakota State University Jackrabbits


Johnny Rodgers
Collegiate Images/Getty Images
Dale's uncle, Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers, was a wingback at the University of Nebraska, where he helped the Huskers win the first two national titles in school history in 1970 and 1971, before becoming Nebraska's first Heisman winner in 1972. Rodgers owns Nebraska records for receptions (143) and receiving yardage (2,479) to go along with his 26 career touchdown catches. A two-time All-American, Rodgers was one of the top punt returners in college football history, racing to 1,515 career punt return yards and seven regular-season touchdowns. He added 847 yards and one score as a kickoff returner, and 745 career rushing yards with 11 touchdowns. After winning his Heisman Trophy, Rodgers put his all-around game on display in a 40-6 win over Notre Dame in the 1973 Orange Bowl. He had a hand in all five of the Huskers' touchdowns vs. the Fighting Irish, rushing for three touchdowns, while adding one touchdown reception. He pitched in a 52-yard pass to Frosty Anderson for another score. Rodgers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. Rodgers was drafted in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, but failed to negotiate a contract. He would go on to play for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League from 1973-to-76 before finally joining the San Diego Chargers for the 1977-78 seasons.

Dale's cousin, Bobby Newcome, also played for Nebraska from 1997-2000 and was drafted in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals, but would only play one professional season, for the Montreal Alouettes in 2002.

Nick Toon

University of Wisconsin Badgers

It is sometimes hard for a son to live up to his father's legacy, but Nick can rest knowing that he did all that he could to join his father, Al, in Badgers folklore. His father, who was inducted into Wisconsin's Hall of Fame in 1995, starred as a receiver and with the UW track team from 1982-85. He left the university as the school's record-holder with 131 receptions for 2,103 yards and 19 touchdowns. The son would surpass his father's receiving yardage total, amassing 2,447 yards from 2008-11, which rank third in school history. His 171 receptions also rank third in Wisconsin annals, as his eighteen touchdowns fell short of his father's mark, but still is placed fifth in the Badgers career-record book. After graduating from Wisconsin, Al was selected 10th overall in the 1985 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. Al went on to become a three-time Pro Bowl receiver who played his entire NFL career with the Jets from 1985 to 1992. He retired at the age of 29 in 1992 as a result of suffering at least nine concussions over his eight-year career. Toon's best year as a pro came in the 1988 season when he led the league with 93 receptions. He finished his career with 517 catchers for 6,605 yards and 31 touchdowns. He serves as a member of the Packers' board of directors.

THE TIGHT ENDS

James Hanna

University of Oklahoma Sooners

Mother, Kim, played volleyball at Miami of Ohio.

Kevin Koger

University of Michigan Wolverines

Sister, LaShawnda Thorne, played volleyball at Michigan and earned a varsity letter in 1991.

Brian Linthicum

Michigan State University Spartans

Older brother, Josh, was a center for the Bucknell basketball team (2005-09), playing for a squad that earned just its third NCAA Tournament berth in school history in 2006, as the Bison pulled off a 59-55 opening-round upset victory over Arkansas before falling to Memphis, 72-56.

THE RUNNING BACKS

Vick Ballard

Mississippi State University Bulldogs

Uncle, Walter Ballard, was a defensive tackle at Texas-El Paso (1980-81) before going on to play for Calgary (1983-84) and British Columbia (1985-89) in the Canadian Football League.

Terrance Ganaway

Baylor University Bears

Uncle, Jeremiah Trotter, is a former All-Pro linebacker during his playing days with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Daniel Herron

The Ohio State University Buckeyes

Brother, David, was a standout linebacker at Michigan State and played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 before recently signing a free agent contract with the New Orleans Saints.

Davin Meggett

University of Maryland Terrapins

Father, Dave Meggett, played in the National Football League for three teams - the New York Giants (1989-1994), the New England Patriots (1995-1997) and the New York Jets (1998).

Trent Richardson

University of Alabama Crimson Tide

His brother, Terrell Richardson, lettered as a defensive end at Louisiana-Lafayette (2007-10).

THE FULLBACKS/H-BACKS

Drake Dunsmore

Northwestern University Wildcats

His father, Pat, who played tight end in college at Drake (naming his son after the school), also competed in the National Football League for two years (1983-84) with the Chicago Bears.

Brad Smelley

University of Alabama Crimson Tide

Brother, Chris, was a quarterback at South Carolina, but recently transferred to Alabama, where he plays on the Crimson Tide baseball team.


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Dave-Te Thomas has more than 40 years of experience scouting for the NFL. At NFL Scouting, Thomas handles a staff that evaluates and tests college players before the draft and prepares the NFL's official Draft Packet, which is distributed to all 32 teams prior to the draft.


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