LAS VEGAS - Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham was always one of the flashiest and most gifted athletes on the field. Whether he was scrambling, running the ball or firing it downfield, he became a human highlight reel during an All-American career at UNLV and a 16-year career in the NFL.
Now it's his son's turn.
Randall Cunningham Jr. is a high school senior at Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman whose on-field mannerisms resemble his father's and with athletic ability that has helped him make headlines on the gridiron and in track and field. The 6-foot-5, 185-pound quarterback's accomplishments in both have college recruiters looking hard.
Since opening the 2013 season with a nationally televised 28-21 loss at home to Phoenix's Mountain Pointe in the Sollenberger Classic, the younger Cunningham has shown maturity in leading the team to four straight wins.
This is Cunningham's first season as the Gaels' full-time starter, and while his passing numbers are average - he's completed 49 of 90 attempts for 690 yards and six touchdowns - he's the team's rushing leader with 449 yards on 74 carries with two touchdowns.
"I feel like I'm at a good point right now; I feel confident with everything that's going on with the offense, the coaching staff, the team. I feel confident in them," Cunningham said.
The biggest test for Cunningham and his teammates will be tonight on ESPNU at 10 p.m., when what is considered to be the nation's No. 1 team, Miami's Booker T. Washington, visits Fertitta Field in the southwest valley of Las Vegas, roughly 12 miles from The Strip.
Cunningham has already provided big games for the Gaels, including the second game of the season, in which he accounted for 308 yards of offense and two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing) in a 41-17 win over California-powerhouse Servite. He threw for 193 yards and ran for an additional 115.
Two weeks ago, Bishop Gorman traveled to Oradell, N.J., and knocked off highly regarded Bergen Catholic, 20-17, in a come-from-behind win during which Cunningham led the Gaels on the winning drive with less than a minute left in the game.
It's that type of poise and maturity that has impressed so many, including his father.
"He's compared to me, but he takes the pressure and is like, 'That's my dad and I'm honored to have a dad who was successful that people can compare to me,' " the elder Cunningham said. "He's not supposed to be me. As a matter of fact, he's way better than I was when I was a kid. He's faster than I was, he's bigger than I was, he's smarter, he has more knowledge of the game than most people could even realize because I taught him so much and he's been around the NFL."
Despite the comparisons, the younger Cunningham said he no longer worries about living up to others' expectations, or filling his father's shoes.
"There's going to be pressure about living up to the name of Cunningham, but I've gotten to the point in my life where I've grown a little bit out of it," he said. "There's still pressure according to other people but to me I don't really feel it as much just because I'm 17 years old and I've had Cunningham as my last name forever. It's really just a matter of me being me and living up to my expectations to myself."
He said he wants to attend a college that will not only allow him to play football but also participate on the men's track team. Seems reasonable after looking at his resume.
As a junior, he was named the Gatorade Nevada Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year after clearing a state-record 7 feet, 3 inches to win the Division I high jump title in Nevada.
He has several college offers - with interest coming from Baylor, LSU, Arizona State and Kansas State - and is not shy about the fact he wants to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics and eventually would like to play in the NFL.
"I think about the draft, I think about the 2016 Olympics; both are something I've dreamed about," Cunningham Jr. said. "I would like to do both as long as I can and whichever one can take me farther, I'll make the decision."