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NOTEBOOK: Family Connections Surface Among Undrafted Rookies

Posted May 3, 2013

Second generation guys getting a chance at rookie minicamp.



Going down the long list of names on the rookie orientation roster that was passed out by the Miami Dolphins, it’s easy to spot some significant family ties among those signed as undrafted free agents or invited for tryouts.

The first name that jumps out is that of Arkansas linebacker Alonzo Highsmith, whose namesake father was a star running back at the University of Miami in the early 1980s. He was part of the Hurricanes’ first national championship in 1983 under Howard Schnellenberger and the younger Highsmith was among the 19 undrafted college free agents signed after last week’s NFL Draft..

Left-handed quarterback Jon Richt from little known Mars Hill College in North Carolina, is the son of University of Georgia head coach and former Hurricanes quarterback Mark Richt. Center James Ferentz of Iowa can claim current Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz as his father.

Finally, linebacker Zach Richert out of Duquesne is the nephew of Miami Dolphins Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Marino. All four of these players and the other 15 invited to tryout hope to make a lasting impression on Head Coach Joe Philbin over the next three days.

“We told them they’ve got equal reps,” Philbin said. “Today’s not about getting a specific player all the reps. Reps were distributed evenly. We want to get a good evaluation. We taped everything. We taped the individual periods, the special teams periods, the team periods, the pass skelly. We want to get a good evaluation of these guys and watch how they move and see how quickly they can take things from the classroom to the practice field and see how they perform. We like the term, you’ve heard me use the term, we want to see guys move around like football players and see if some of these guys can do it just like the other guys.”

Regardless of what their last names are.
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