We see it over and over again.
Professional athletes have insane genes that often translate into freakish athletic kids.
Just look at the NBA right now. Stephen Curry, one of the most electrifying players in the game, is the son of former Charlotte Hornets' great Dell Curry. We could hammer out these connections in the MLB, NHL and NBA all day long, but we're here to focus on football.
If you go back in time, you'll find dozens of father/son combos in college football and the NFL. Peyton and Eli Manning come to mind right away as they lit up the stat sheet during their early years while following in the footsteps of their father, Archie.
With the recent spike of NFL sons tearing it up in college, we thought we'd narrow it down to the Top-10 college football players with NFL dads since the 2014 season. Some of these might surprise you. [divider]
10. Rayshad Lewis, WR — Maryland
Earlier this week, the son of former NFL superstar linebacker Ray Lewis decided to transfer from Utah State to Maryland. At just 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, the younger Lewis was listed as just a two-star recruit coming out of high school.
It isn't fair to place massive expectations for the raw wideout just because of who his dad is, but Lewis did haul in 40 catches for 476 yards and two touchdowns. He will have to sit out a season, but I actually think that might be a nice opportunity to absorb the Terps' offense and prepare to go all in with three years of eligibility remaining.
9. Jamir Tillman, WR — Navy
It's really hard to stand out as a wide receiver in Navy's signature triple-option offense, yet Jamir Tillman found a way to do just that. It was tough to find a true highlight reel from Tillman considering his role with the Midshipmen, but fast forward to the 1:45 point to see an incredible touchdown from the Navy WR where he pulls off a superman and lays out for the pylon. Oh, and it came against Army making it that much better.
Statistically, Tillman wrapped up his campaign in Annapolis as one of the best pass catchers to suit up in the storied blue and gold uniform. He had 91 catches for 1,626 yards and 10 touchdowns which might not sound like anything too crazy, but remember, this is a program that runs the ball like 90 percent of the time.
Tillman's father, Cedric, was an 11th round pick of the Denver Broncos in 1992 and played four NFL seasons, mostly in a reserve role.
8. Luke Del Rio, QB — Florida
The son of current Oakland Raiders' head coach Jack Del Rio, Luke has had an up and down campaign as a quarterback for the Florida Gators. A mix of injury and inconsistent play has placed Del Rio low on the depth chart as the Gators prepare for the 2017-18 season, but don't be shocked if he scraps his way into the starting role again.
He was the No. 4 player coming out of Colorado in 2015 and we've seen Del Rio flash potential at various times. If one of the young talents ends up getting the nod with the Gators, I wouldn't be surprised to see the sophomore transfer and start fresh somewhere else. Most people know his dad best for his role as a fiery NFL head coach but forget Jack had a long 11-year tenure as a linebacker for the Saints, Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings.
7. Zach Banner, OT — USC
The 6-foot-9, 360-pound mammoth is the son of former NFL Pro-Bowler Lincoln Kennedy, who should be a household name to anyone that has followed the NFL for a while. Kennedy spent most of his 11-year stint with the Oakland Raiders where he was considered one of the top offensive linemen in the game.
Banner shined at USC at right tackle, holding down the starting position for three seasons. He was drafted by the Colts in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft last month.
6. Kahlil McKenzie, DL — Tennessee
McKenzie has every tool necessary to dominate the line of scrimmage. He was listed as the No. 2 defensive line prospect coming out of high school in 2015 and was ranked as the No. 6 overall talent in the country. McKenzie had a strong showing during his freshman season playing in all 13 games recording 14 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
The Vols' big man suffered a pectoral injury in October last season and was sidelined for the year, but he has a chance to emerge as one of the top defensive tackles in college football in 2017-18.
Recognize that last name? You got it. His father Reggie is best known for his role as general manager with the Oakland Raiders where he's played a major role in revitalizing a struggling franchise. The elder McKenzie played five seasons in the NFL where he started on defense for the Raiders for two seasons.
5. The Dixon Brothers, DL — South Carolina
It doesn't get much better than this family connection, but bear with me because it's a bit confusing. Gerald Dixon and Gerald Dixon Jr. both started on the Gamecocks' defensive line in 2014-15 and recorded a bevy of tackles, forced fumbles, sacks and even interceptions.
The two beasts stand around 6-foot-3 and weigh upwards of 300 pounds. Born just five months apart, the Dixon brothers tried to fulfill the legacy of their pops, who is confusingly also named Gerald Dixon. Dixon Jr. is still listed as a member of the Dallas Cowboys while his brother continues to train with the hope of catching on somewhere.
The Dixon father played 10 seasons in the NFL with the Browns, Bengals and Chargers.
4. DeCalon Brooks, LB — Florida State
This one is a little bit unique and more of a personal choice for me. I understand it's a gamble considering NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks' son, DeCalon, is an unproven incoming freshman at Florida State but I've spent some time studying him closely and love the upside.
The younger Brooks is listed as just a 3-star prospect by 24/7 Sports, but there's a reason he was heavily pursued by Louisville, South Florida and others before committing to play for Jimbo Fisher. One of the reasons I'm so high on Brooks is taking a look at where he fits in on an already star-studded defensive lineup for the Seminoles. They have plenty of depth and Brooks will have time to learn and grow before ever taking a snap. If he would have signed with a smaller program he might have been thrown into the fire too early and asked to do too much.
Keep a close eye on this kid. His dad was one of the best linebackers to ever play in the NFL and I know Derrick has worked meticulously with his son to groom him for success at th same position.
3. Zay Jones, WR — East Carolina
Jones was the most underrated wide receiver in the country in 2016. He finished the year as the No. 1 overall WR statistically averaging an insane 145.5 yards per game. The Pirates' star had 158 catches for 1,746 yards and eight touchdowns during his senior campaign and was selected No. 37 overall by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
It wasn't talked about much, but Jones' dad Robert, was a first-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1992 draft which marked the start of a successful 10-year NFL stint.
2. Marlon Humphrey, CB — Alabama
Like so many defensive players at Alabama, Humphrey became one of the top players at his position very quickly. The speedy, athletic defensive back earned All-American honors during both his freshman and sophomore campaign and wrapped up his two-season tenure in Tuscaloosa with 81 tackles (6.5 for loss), 13 pass deflections, 5 interceptions that included a critical pick six in the 2016 season opener against USC and three forced fumbles.
The star corner declared early for the NFL Draft and was selected No. 16 overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round last month. Humphrey's father, Bobby, was also a first-round selection in the 1989 Supplemental Draft. He rushed for 1,151 yards as a rookie helping the Broncos reach Super Bowl XXIV and earned Pro Bowl honors the very next season.
1. Christian McCaffrey, RB — Stanford
I don't think I'm catching anyone off guard with this selection. McCaffrey captivated the nation over the last few seasons at Stanford and quickly became one of the most dynamic players in college football. His unique blend of speed, agility and ability to dominate as both a runner and receiver made him a joy to watch. Even crazier? The McCaffrey madness isn't even close to done.
Dylan McCaffrey, Christian's younger brother is a 4-star quarterback prospect who's committed to play at Michigan. Max McCaffrey is the third of the trio who played collegiately at Duke and clawed his way on to the Green Bay Packers' 53-man roster by the end of last season.
It's just insane to see Ed McCaffrey's genes create three elite-level athletes, but that's the way science works folks. If you are younger and don't remember the McCaffrey dad tearing it up for the Broncos, do yourself a favor and check out the few highlights you can find online. It's not HD, but you'll quickly realize why these kids are such animals. It all begins with Ed.