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BLOOD LINES OFTEN PLAY ROLE IN RECRUITMENT

BLOOD LINES OFTEN PLAY ROLE IN RECRUITMENT

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The sons of National Football League Hall of Famer Bob Griese play the college game at North Carolina and Virginia. Former Duke and Washington Redskins quarterback Sonny Jurgensen's little boy, Erik, is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound wide receiver at Carolina.

Rich McGeorge, formerly of Elon College and the Green Bay Packers, left his 260-pound freshman son behind to learn the fine points of playing in the offensive line at Duke, while McGeorge himself moved from Duke with Steve Spurrier to continue his coaching career at Florida.Rhett Blanchard is a freshman tight end at Wake Forest who once bounced on the knee of his grandfather, Army's 1945 Heisman Trophy winner Doc Blanchard. He's part of a Deacon team that also includes Jim Kemp, a freshman quarterback who comes from a family of quarterbacks. His brother, Jeff, played at Dartmouth and is now with the Los Angeles Rams and his father, Jack, a national political leader, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development and a potential future presidential candidate, starred at quarterback at Occidental College and with the Buffalo Bills.

There's a sophomore quarterback at N.C. State named Terry Jordan whose uncle, Lee Roy, became famous as a linebacker for knocking down quarterbacks at the University of Alabama and for a lot of years with the Dallas Cowboys.

Good blood lines. It's in the genes.

Turns out, though, that that handful of Atlantic Coast Conference football players at North Carolina's Big Four schools are merely the tip of the desoxyribonucleic acid spiral.

A survey of the rosters of the four ACC schools in North Carolina seems to indicate that college recruiters are almost as interested in pedigree as in pounds, pass patterns and points scored when it comes to picking future talent.

Carolina football coach Mack Brown, for example, admits that blood lines are strong considerations for the awarding of football grants at Chapel Hill. And the Tar Heel football roster proves the point.

Greensboro Grimsley's Ethan Albright was a rangy tight end with outstanding academic marks when the UNC recruiters came calling. But not lost on the talent scouts was the fact that Albright's father, a judge, played college basketball at Duke, older brother Jon played basketball at Memphis State, and yet another brother, Erick, plays baseball at Duke, where sibling Stuart is a rising senior center with the Blue Devils.

``We will go into our recruiting meetings and talk about blood lines,' Brown confirmed. ``We like to recruit the sons and brothers of former athletes and we especially like to recruit the sons of coaches.

``If you don't like college football, it's hard to play. So we feel like we like to sign guys who really like football and it's helpful if they've been exposed to it most of their lives.

``Growing up in a family of athletes usually means they'll stick with it because they know what's involved and there's some natural family pressure to work hard and succeed.'

Apparently for that reason, at least 34 members - about one in three - of Carolina's fall football roster have, like Ethan Albright, Griese, Jurgensen, McGeorge, Blanchard and Kemp, blood ties to other athletes.

The number is exactly the same at Duke where 34 players list family members with athletic inclinations. Thirty Wake Forest players - slightly less than one in three - apparently have football in their DNA chain. At N.C. State, at least 23 players - slightly less than one in four - have athletic family members looking over their shoulders.

Not all have the pedigrees to match the sons of Hall of Famer Bob Griese, but Wake Forest redshirt freshman linebacker Diron Reynolds may have even more pressure to succeed. His mother was a track star at South Carolina State where his father also played football.

And if living up to the reputation of a Heisman-winning grandfather isn't enough, Wake's Rhett Blanchard is the second in his family to be coached by Bill Dooley (whose nephew, Derek Dooley, the son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, is a wide receiver at Virginia). Rhett's father, Tony, was a starting tight end for Dooley at Carolina years ago. If that isn't enough of a cross, Rhett's sister, Mary Ellen, is an American world record holder in the breaststroke and is a member of the National swimming team.

Blood lines.

Among the 121 players in the Big Four who have athleticism as part of their inheritance are these:

Carolina wide receiver Joey Jauch is the son of a former Canadian Football League and United States Football League head football coach and has three brothers who played college football, one at UNC and two others at North and South Dakota.

UNC defensive back Thomas Smith is a cousin of former Tar Heel basketball star Sam Perkins.

Tar Heel freshman Kerry Sharpe is a former Oklahoma lineman of the year whose father played football and participated on the wrestling team at Duke, who had a grandfather who played the game at Oklahoma and an uncle who was on the team at Clemson.

Duke's talented running back Randy Cuthbert has two sisters who excelled at sports, one in field hockey and the other in lacrosse.

Duke linebacker Duane Marks is the son of Indiana's starting linebacker in the 1968 Rose Bowl game.

Blue Devil quarterback Billy Ray's claim to athletic inheritance comes from his grandfather who played at Alabama and who had a famous roommate, Bear Bryant, in 1935 on a Tide team that won the Rose Bowl championship.

Duke offensive tackle Brandon Moore's father played at Villanova and for the Green Bay Packers. Two uncles also played at Villanova and another at Northwestern.

Wake's Dale Earnhardt neither wears number 3 nor is related to the famous stock car driver. But his dad was blessed with enough athletic speed to run track at Catawba College a few years back.

It's still a mystery why freshman lineman Tom Weber wound up at Wake Forest. His father and a brother played at Southern Cal and another brother played at Ole Miss.

And among the recruits who reported for their first taste of college football at Carolina this month was Land O' Lakes, Fla., linebacker Don Meredith.

No relation.

But more and more, almost as much attention is being paid to who your father - and sometimes your mother - is to as weight, speed and high school statistics for college football recruiters.

It matters these days if you have football in your genes.

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