Through the years in South Florida, names such as Shula, Highsmith, Griese, Duhe and Brudzinski have popped up on high school football fields. Those were the names that followed in the rich tradition of their fathers who played for the Dolphins, other NFL teams and at a high level of college ball.
Today, things are still the same — with more and more second- and third-generation athletes following in that rich tradition.
Known as one of the country’s better areas for producing elite talent, having former pro and college players residing here gives them the opportunity to showcase their children, who compete at a high level since they put on that first uniform.
While playing the game doesn’t always signal that you will have offspring that will do the same, there are several youngsters who have followed in the footsteps of their fathers — and this year is certainly no exception.
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Perhaps no family has dominated the landscape locally like the Bosa family — where Joey (Ohio State) and Nick, a St. Thomas Aquinas junior, have followed in the rather large shadow of their father, John, a standout at Boston College, who was a first-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins.
John Bosa has long been supportive of his boys, never pushing them to play, but always being there to lend support — on and off the field. Bosa has been watching and attending games since youth football — and as Joey continues to shine for the Buckeyes as a sophomore — he is there watching and supporting every step of the way.
Younger son Nick has been in the spotlight since his ninth grade season and is regarded as one of the top junior defensive ends in the country.
While the Bosas continue to pave the way, they are certainly not alone. The “apple certainly hasn’t fallen far from the tree” at Flanagan — where Devin Bush Sr., a former Hialeah Miami Lakes and FSU standout has been there every step of the way, coaching his son, Devin Bush Jr., a talented junior linebacker. Bush was a first-round draft selection of the Falcons.
Bush is not the only one that has that bond with his son at Flanagan. Former Carol City and FSU standout Stanford Samuels II is right in the thick of things with his son as well. Versatile sophomore Stanford Samuels III is a defensive back and backup quarterback for the Falcons.
At American Heritage, four players have benefited from having fathers there every step of the way, sharing some of their craft with them. Will Allen Jr., DB (Will Allen Sr., Syracuse/Miami Dolphins), Pat Surtain Jr., DB (Pat Surtain Sr., Southern Mississippi/Miami Dolphins), Marco Wilson, DB (Chad Wilson, UM) and Blake Wooden, DB (Shawn Wooden, Notre Dame/Miami Dolphins) are all young, but are among the elite prospects in South Florida.
Cardinal Gibbons certainly has a number of elite prospects on the roster, but James Bostic Jr. RB (James Bostic Sr., Auburn/Rams) and Jameson Offerdahl, LB (John Offerdahl, Central Michigan/Miami Dolphins) have had fathers who made a difference in the NFL.
Chris Goetz, who played at the University of Pittsburgh, spent several years in the NFL, playing for the Jets, and has passed down that talent to his sons who are now at Chaminade-Madonna. Tyler Goetz, LB, and Hunter Goetz, S, have enjoyed outstanding years for the Lions — as their father watches and supports.
“This has always been a region of the country that has had so many second generation football players,” said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. “Back when I played in the late 1970s, there were so many former college and pro players who had kids who followed in their rather large footsteps. It remains that way today as well.”
One-time Miami Dolphins standout and current broadcaster Keith Sims came out of Iowa State before enjoying a tremendous career as an offense lineman in the NFL. Sims now has his son, Storm, who is a junior defensive lineman at Fort Lauderdale’s Calvary Christian Academy.
Here is a look at some of the other siblings of collegiate and NFL players who are competing in South Florida:
▪ Booker T. Washington: Cleavan Thomas Jr., WR (Cleavan “Cookie” Thomas, FSU/Arena League)
▪ Columbus: Bryce Handy, LB (Darren Handy, UM); Trajan Bandy, DB (Jeff Bandy, Auburn).
▪ Cypress Bay: Darrell Malone, DB (Darrell Malone, Dolphins)
▪ Hialeah-Miami Lakes: Simino Walden, WR and Antonio Howard, DB (Antonio Brown, West Virginia University/Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills)
▪ Miami Northwestern: Chatarius Atwell, QB (Tutu Atwell, University of Minnesota)
▪ Westminster Christian: Elbre Gaiter, WR (Tony Gaiter, UM/Patriots); James Sutton, LB (James Sutton, UM)
As the season starts to head toward a conclusion for many teams, a number of underclassmen will want to get a jump on next season — and with the Second TOC All-Star Underclassman Football Combine slated for Dec. 20 at Curtis Park in Miami — athletes will have the chance to get their name out there early.
The event will be part of the Miami-Dade North vs. South All-Star event that evening, and provide an opportunity for athletes in the classes 2016-19 to gain valuable exposure.