COLUMBUS – Part of playing football for many Ohio State players is to stay in Columbus when their college careers are over or when they come to the end of their NFL playing days.
And in many cases, 15 or 20 years down the road, they will have sons playing high school football in the Columbus area.
One example is former Lima Senior standout William White, whose son Brendon is a 4-star recruit who has committed to sign with Ohio State in February.
Brendon White is a wide/receiver whose skills have been compared to Darron Lee, a first-round NFL draft choice. But it is the rare recruiting story about him that doesn’t mention his dad was a four-year starter at Ohio State who played 11 years in the NFL.
Being the son of an Ohio State legend or even the son of a pretty good player guarantees a lot of attention in Columbus if they play high school football. But does it also bring pressure?
Yes and no, say some of the dads and the son of one very, very famous Buckeye.
Chris Spielman says his son Noah didn’t necessarily feel pressure to follow him to Ohio State but might have felt he needed to sign with an NCAA Division I team, which he did when he accepted an offer from the University of Toledo.
But after a year at Toledo, Noah Spielman, a defensive lineman, decided to transfer to NCAA Division III Wheaton College and carve out his own path in football.
“He’s proud of what I did, but he also likes it when people ask about him,” Chris Spielman said.
Jim Lachey’s son, James, is a junior defensive end/tight end for Grandview Heights.
The older Lachey, a first-round NFL draft choice who played 11 years in the NFL, said he was a little amused when early in his high school career, his son remarked that a lot of people seemed to know who he was and said, “Dad, I don’t know how they know me.”
“I said, ‘Well, you know, you’ve probably got a little bit of a reputation that precedes you.’ I think sometimes certainly it could be tough,” Jim Lachey said.
“It could be a little bit of a burden if they (sons of former players) think ‘I have to do like my dad did.’ But I don’t know if it’s any extra pressure,” he said.
Urban Meyer didn’t play at OSU, but he obviously is one of the biggest names in Buckeyes football history.
His son, Nate, is a junior defensive back at Watterson High School and a second baseman on its baseball team.
Being a high school athlete and having the Meyer name does bring some pressure, the OSU coach said.
“I wish it was an unneeded pressure, but it is,” Meyer said. “Shelley and I talked about that. He’s one of those kids who want to be known as Nate Meyer, not ‘his son.’ So I try to stay out of that and let him go be himself. But I am very proud of him.”
Lima Senior football coach Andre Griffin is the son of the most famous Ohio State player ever, two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin.
Andre Griffin was the Most Valuable Player of his conference in high school and played at Ohio State, where his career highlight was three carries against Iowa on the day his dad’s number was retired.
He just smiled when asked about expectations in Columbus if your dad was the ultimate Buckeyes legend.
“I was a good football player but the difference was I grew up in Cleveland because my parents (Archie and Loretta) were separated. There was a little bit of pressure, but if I was in Columbus it would have been tons of pressure,” he said.
“But my dad always told me I am who I am. I’m Andre Griffin. I’m not Archie Griffin. I’m Andre Griffin.”