My father strongly believes that having an athletic pedigree helps an athlete in any sport he or she chooses to play. He was a good athlete in his day, and my brother and sister and I all were athletic.
More times than not, when a child has a parent or family member who was a great athlete and excelled at a sport, he or she is going to be a solid athlete too. For several recruits in the 2014 class, that seems to be the case. This year there are some great prospects who have NFL ties.
Whether a father, uncle, grandfather or cousin played in the league, this piece is going to rank the very best recruits in the 2014 class with NFL ties. While there may be many ties we don't know about, these are the top prospects in the 2014 class who we know have ties to the top sports league in North American professional athletics.
J. R. Reed, out of Texas, is the son of former Vikings great WR Jake Reed. He's a big CB prospect at 6'2" and 175 pounds, and could develop into a safety or WR in college.
According to 247Sports, Reed has an offer from UNLV. I'm sure he is looking to drum up more interest as the spring and summer commences.
Randall Cunningham is from Las Vegas and goes by the nickname "RC2" sometimes. He's tall and lanky like his dad at 6'4" and 180 pounds, and he also has his father's athleticism.
The younger Cunningham has already reeled in offers from Baylor, Mississippi State and LSU, says 247Sports. He definitely has learned some tricks of the trade from his father.
Treon Harris is the brother of Brandon Harris, who went to Miami and has seen some snaps with the Houston Texans in recent seasons.
From the South Florida region, Treon is a 5'11", 170-pound CB prospect. He's also a sprinter on the track team. With his speed and solid athleticism, Harris is definitely a CB colleges should want on their rosters.
Miami, Clemson and Florida State have offered along with several others, says Scout.com.
Richard is a 4-star prospect, per 247Sports, and stands 6'4" while weighing 232 pounds. His uncle is former Georgia and NFL running back Herschel Walker.
Richard, like his uncle, is expected to sign with Georgia. He's also got offers from Florida State, UCLA, Tennessee, South Carolina, Clemson, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, among others.
Bates' father is former Cowboys safety Bill Bates, and he plays a lot like his dad, just from the LB position. Dillon has a big-time motor, he hustles, he's instinctive, he's tough, and he hits with good pop.
Sounds a lot like his dad's scouting report, doesn't it?
From Florida, the 6'3" Bates weighs about 220 pounds and has offers from just about all of the big boys. According to 247Sports, Florida, Notre Dame and Tennessee are the standouts right now.
Kelly is the son of Todd Kelly, who was a stud LB/DE at Tennessee and a first-round pick to the 49ers in 1993. It's no surprise that his son is also a very good defensive player, as he likely grew up watching tape of his father hitting and tackling people.
Junior is a 6'1", 190-pound safety from Knoxville who will follow in father's footsteps by playing for the Vols. Kelly is a big safety who can run, hit and cover effectively.
Keller Chryst is the son of Geep Chryst, the QB coach of the 49ers. He's also the nephew of Pitt coach Paul Chryst. Keller has an advantage over other recruits at this stage due to his father and uncle both being high-profile offensive-minded coaches.
He's 6'3", 215 pounds, and some say he's the best QB prospect in the country for 2014. Chryst is from California, and Stanford, USC and Pitt figure to be his core three choices before a decision is made.
The best recruit in the 2014 class with NFL ties is Marlon Humphrey, a big 6'1", 175-pound 5-star CB from Alabama. He has good length, quick feet, pressing strength, speed and great anticipation.
His father is Bobby Humphrey, who was an All-American running back at Alabama in the late '80s and a first-round supplemental draft pick by the Broncos in 1989.
I'd be pretty surprised if Marlon didn't end up playing in Tuscaloosa like his father did.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.