Duke coach David Cutcliffe has coached two Mannings at two different schools. He was quarterbacks coach at Tennessee, back before Peyton Manning began his Hall of Fame NFL career, then he was head coach at Ole Miss, convincing Eli to play for him before the younger Manning went on to win two Super Bowls with the Giants.
Now, Cutcliffe is attempting to add a third Manning, at a third school, to his portfolio. The Blue Devils recently extended a scholarship offer to Arch Manning, one of the top quarterback prospects in the class of 2023.
Manning is named after his grandfather, longtime NFL quarterback Archie Manning. Peyton and Eli are his uncles. His father is the third Manning brother, Cooper, who caught passes from Peyton until an injury ended his football career.
Duke is well-known for having athletes with famous bloodlines.
In the early 1990s, at least one of Coach K’s first two national championship teams included Grant Hill, son of Cowboys running back Calvin, and Billy McCaffrey, brother of NFL receiver Ed. McCaffrey’s nephew, Max, later played receiver for Cutcliffe, a few years before brother Christian became an NFL star for the Panthers.
Those Duke teams also included Clay Buckley, whose father, Jay, led Duke’s Final Four teams of the early 1960s.
Those championship teams were followed by teams that featured Doug Collins’ son, Chris, and Jeff Capel’s son Jeff (brother of UNC standout Jason). Mike Dunleavy Jr. joined the team, winning a ring in 2001.
In the early 2010s, Duke’s roster included Austin Rivers (son of NBA star Doc), Seth Curry (brother of Steph and son of Dell) and any number of Plumlee brothers (Miles, Mason and Marshall all played for Duke).
Last year’s team included the son of Hall of Famer David Robinson (Justin), the brother of national champion Tyus Jones (Tre), the son of former Blue Devil Dave O’Connell (Alex) and Coach K’s grandson (Michael Savarino).
Duke football also has had some eye-raising walk-ons under Cutcliffe, including the son of rock star John Mellencamp (Hud) and the grandson of former Duke coach and Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier (Gavin, currently on the 2020 team).
One of the biggest legacy players to come through Durham actually had close ties to another school in the state.
Shavlik Randolph was a standout high schooler at Raleigh’s Broughton High. His grandfather Ronnie was one of the stars of the early ACC. He’s still NC State’s all-time leading rebounder and is second in ACC history. He’s in the top 10 for Wolfpack scoring as well.
Randolph chose Duke over State, UNC (who enlisted Michael Jordan to wear a “Shav Country” shirt to try to lure him to Chapel Hill) and Kansas. His college career was hampered by injury, however, and he left Duke early to play for several years as an NBA journeyman.
Randolph’s recruiting class also included Lee Melchionni, a second-generation Blue Devil, following father Gary.
Duke doesn’t have a monopoly on legacy players, however. UNC’s basketball team last year included the high-profile son of Greg Anthony (Cole), as well as sons of former Tar Heel greats Kenny Smith (KJ), Bob McAdoo (Ryan) and the brother of national champion Wes Miller (Walker). An assistant coach for the Tar Heels, Hubert Davis, was also a UNC legacy, as the nephew of UNC legend Walter.
Wake Forest, meanwhile, enjoyed the senior season of Brandon Childress, who combined with father Randolph to set an ACC scoring record for father/son combinations.
One of Childress’ teammates during his four years at Wake was Anthony Bilas, son of former Duke player and current ESPN personality Jay. They currently rank in the top 20 for ACC father/son scoring combinations, as do the UNC Smiths (eighth).
NC State has representation on the list, as well, most notably in sixth place, where Tony Warren and his son, current NBA Bubble breakout player T.J., both starred for the Pack.
Four years after State missed on Randolph, the Wolfpack were shunned again by a legacy when Stephen Rivers, the brother of Wolfpack star quarterback Philip Rivers, decided to go his own way and play for LSU. His path included throwing a total of two passes in three years in Baton Rouge before transferring. He spurned State — who had unproven transfer Jacoby Brissett as their only quarterback option at the time — again and went to Vanderbilt. He finished his career at Northwestern State, starting a total of nine college games, 42 fewer than his brother logged with the Pack.
“Obviously my brother’s career went one way, and mine went another,” he told NFL.com while trying to impress scouts at a pro day.
For many legacies, that seems a fitting description of their college career.