Note: The following appears in the North Carolina football gameday program.
Many members of the 2023 Clemson football team have fathers who have played a sport professionally. Having that mentorship and guidance from someone who has played professionally has helped mold these young men into who they are today. Even so, these student-athletes have put in the work and have been dedicated to their craft to blaze their own trail and become high-level football players.
Two Tigers have fathers who played in the NFL for 10+ seasons. Playing a professional sport for 10+ years is extremely impressive, and these two players are trying to follow in their fathers’ footsteps while still making their own mark.
Jeremiah Trotter played 12 years in the NFL, earning two All-Pro honors in the process. His son, Jeremiah Trotter Jr., was a second-team AP All-America linebacker as a sophomore and is a highly rated NFL prospect who has had another banner year in 2023.
As defensive backs, Ray and R.J. Mickens both have been standout players in the secondary. Ray enjoyed a successful 10-year career in the NFL as a cornerback, mostly with the New York Jets. Like his father, R.J. has been a starter, but he has been a reliable presence at the safety position, leading the team in interceptions a season ago.
Four other younger Tigers have fathers who had successful NFL careers. Jamal Anderson was a first-team All-Pro running back for the Atlanta Falcons and played eight years. His son with the same name is a freshman linebacker looking to carve out his own path.
Josh Sapp and Keith Adams Jr. are both Clemson legacies, creating their own careers in Tigertown. Patrick Sapp played quarterback and linebacker for Clemson and played four years in the NFL, and his son is a redshirt freshman tight end who had a 25-yard receiving touchdown this season.
Keith Adams was a record-setting and All-America linebacker who played eight years in the NFL. His son, Keith Adams Jr., is a redshirt freshman running back known for his physical style of running.
Cole Turner is a redshirt freshman wideout who totaled 101 receiving yards in the ACC Championship Game victory a year ago. He learned his toughness from his late father, Kevin, who had 2,015 receiving yards over eight seasons as a fullback for the Patriots and Eagles.
The NFL lineage runs deeper than father-son relationships. Three young Tigers are looking to have impact careers just like their older brothers who came through Clemson and are now NFL players. Avieon Terrell is working to be a shutdown cornerback like his brother, A.J., an All-Pro cornerback with Atlanta.
Kobe McCloud is a redshirt freshman linebacker whose brother, Ray-Ray, is a wide receiver and kick returner with the San Francisco 49ers. Jahiem Lawson is a redshirt freshman defensive end following in the footsteps of his All-America brother, Shaq, a first-round draft pick.
Clemson also has a player with NBA lineage. The late Anthony Mason played 13 years in the NBA, making an All-NBA team in the process. His son, Armon, is a redshirt sophomore defensive end who is looking to make a name for himself on the Tiger defense.
Every player has his own unique path to follow his dreams. These Clemson players are all proud of their family heritage, yet they have all worked hard to make a name for themselves and live out their own dreams.