It doesn't seem all that long ago that Barry Sanders was knifing through NFL defenses.
Nor does it seem too far in the past that Deion Sanders was earning his "Primetime" nickname, captivating fans at Florida State and later the NFL.
And it certainly seems like yesterday that Will Smith made the cross-country relocation from West Philadelphia to one of Los Angeles’ wealthiest neighborhoods.
The children of many star athletes and celebrities from the 1990s are starting to make their way to the high school football field, and in many cases, are garnering attention for much more than their well-known name.
Here’s a look at the top 10 celebrity sons to watch on the gridiron this fall.
10. Trevor Gretzky, QB, Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.). Famous father – Wayne Gretzky
Last year, Oaks Christian head coach Bill Redell backed up one celebrity son (Nick Montana) with another – Trevor Gretzky.
The Great One’s son threw four touchdowns in back-up duty for the Lions in 2009. At 6-foot-4, he has prototypical size. According to CBS Sports and MaxPreps recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, he also has outstanding accuracy.
The younger Gretzky is also a top baseball prospect, a skill set that might be passed down from his father, a former draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays.
He credits his father for helping him understand how to lead and work hard.
"I'm really proud of my dad. I know it all came from hard work, and it's a great example to me," Trevor Gretzky said.
Gretzky will have an opportunity to display his leadership in a week two tilt with league power St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.).
UPDATE: Gretzyk completed 15 of 21 passes for 184 yards in a season-opening 20-17 loss to Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.)
9. Kevin Ferguson, RB, Miramar (Fla.). Famous father – Kimbo Slice
One of the biggest YouTube sensations of all-time, Kimbo Slice, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, went from fighting local opponents to possessing a national cult following.
His son, also named Kevin Ferguson, plays running back for defending Florida 6A state champion Miramar. His season is off to a good start as he punched in an eight-yard touchdown run in the team’s preseason game against Deerfield Beach.
"He’s going to be a good kid," remarked head coach Damon Cogdell.
8. Colton Bigelow, FB, Ocean Township (Oakhurst, N.J.). Famous father – Bam Bam Bigelow
His father’s finishing move was known was "Greetings from Asbury Park," but Colton Bigelow, son of former WWF/WWE star Bam Bam Bigelow, will be playing football a few miles north on the Garden State Parkway at Ocean Township.
The recent transfer from St. John Vianney will have to sit out 30 days, but will then be eligible to suit up for the Spartans.
In addition to playing fullback, Bigelow, a junior, may see some time on the defensive line.
7. Ray Lewis Ill, LB, Lake Mary Prep (Lake Mary, Fla.). Famous father – Ray Lewis II
Ray Lewis III not only looks like his father facially, he also mirrors him on the football field with his hard-nosed, aggressive style of play.
The 5-9, 165-pound sophomore doubles as Lake Mary Prep’s running back, but defense appears to be where his heart is.
"Linebacker is fun," he said. "I love to hit people."
His mother ran track and was a cheerleader, so Ray was endowed with athletic genes from both parents. But there’s no doubt where he gets his tenacity from.
"My dad told me to never take a play off, always play 100 percent," he said.6. Trey Smith, WR, Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.). Famous father – Will Smith
While Will Smith has done battle with aliens, robots and pestilence, he’s never gone up against the likes of the Maramonte League.
His son Trey, a senior wide receiver at Oaks Christian, will challenge the defenses of Westlake (Westlake Village, Calif.)
, St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.)
, and Moorpark (Moorpark, Calif.)
As a junior, Trey caught 23 passes for 181 yards. His finest performance came when the team traveled to Washington to take on Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.)
. He finished with eight catches for 61 yards and one touchdown.5. Griffin Gilbert, WR, Lake Travis (Austin, Texas). Famous father – Gale Gilbert
Griffin Gilbert has some big shoes to fill.
Not only did his father, Gale, play in five consecutive Super Bowls with the Bills and Chargers, but his older brother, Garrett, saw action in last season’s BCS National Championship game.
Griffin is quite a player in his own right. In Lake Travis’ comeback victory against Westlake (Austin, Texas)
last weekend, he caught 10 passes for 167 yards and a critical touchdown for the Cavaliers.4. Deuce Gruden, QB, Carrollwood Day (Tampa, Fla.). Famous father – Jon Gruden
When John Gruden isn’t serving as an analyst on Monday Night Football, he spends time as an assistant coach at Carrollwood Day, where his son, Deuce, is a junior quarterback.
The younger Gruden said that he and his teammates enjoy learning from his father, a Super Bowl-winning coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"It’s great because he has a great football mind," Deuce said. "We all feed off his energy in practice. We have 20 new plays we never ran before and are now running to perfection. His addition makes such great chemistry."
UPDATE: Gruden completed touchdown passes of 10, 49, 67 and 55 yards and finished with 275 yards through the air in a 38-15 win over Cambridge Christian on Friday.
3. Deion Sanders Jr., QB, Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas). Famous father - Deion Sanders
At the ripe age of 16, Deion Sanders Jr. already has an idea what real pressure is and is not.
"Football is not really pressure," he said. "Pressure is really a single mom trying to feed her kids."
Being thrust into the starting quarterback role at 5A Marcus, the younger Sanders will certainly experience some tense moments.
Suffice to say, the son of arguably the greatest cornerback of all-time has the maturity and awareness to thrive in the spotlight just like his father was known to do.
Deion Sr. is very much involved in Deion Jr.’s career, as the two have spent much of the summer working out together.
"He comes to all my practices and games," he said.
Sanders Jr. opened the season by throwing one touchdown in a 33-13 victory for Flower Mound over Garland (Garland, Texas)
UPDATE: Sanders ran for a 58-yard touchdown in Marcus's 56-20 win over Grapevine on Sept. 3.2. Kelvin Taylor, RB, Glades Day (Belle Glade, Fla.). Famous father – Fred Taylor
As he begins his 13th NFL season, Patriots running back Fred Taylor
is the owner of 66 career rushing touchdowns.
As he enters his sophomore year of high school, Kelvin Taylor has registered 74 varsity touchdowns.
While the senior Taylor winds down his professional tenure, the younger Taylor is bracing for an epic high school career that could see him shatter state records for total yards and touchdowns.
The 5-11, 190-pound Taylor had offseason knee surgery, but seems to have healed nicely. He rushed for 94 yards and a score in Glades Day’s preseason matchup with Twiggs County (Jeffersonville, Ga.)
UPDATE: In a 38-14 loss to Jupiter Christian, Taylor ran for 135 yards.1. Barry Sanders, RB, Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.). Famous father – Barry Sanders
Anyone within 100 miles of Oklahoma City should try to attend a Heritage Hall football game in 2010 to watch one of the most electrifying running backs in the country – Barry Sanders.
For those not within driving distance, Sanders’ highlights are equally exciting, especially considering this highlight reel
is from his ninth-grade season.
The son of the legendary Lions running back has been torching Oklahoma defenses for two seasons. As he enters this junior season, shows no signs of slowing down.
He’s already a major recruit in the class of 2012, drawing interest from Tennesse, Notre Dame, and his father’s alma mater, Oklahoma State.
Barry acknowledges what everyone who watches him notices rather quickly: he resembles his father on the football field.
"I can see some of our similarities," he said. "Probably our vision and balance."
UPDATE: Sanders rushed for 121 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown in Heritage Hall's 35-16 win over Casady.Dave Krider contributed to this story.