MORGANTOWN - When the 2011 West Virginia football season rolls around, Najee Goode, the Mountaineerss' only returning starting linebacker, may end up at the Mike (or middle linebacker) position.
For now, however, sophomore Branko Busick is No. 1 at the position, and behind him on the depth chart is Jewone Snow, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound redshirt freshman from the famed Canton (Ohio) McKinley High program.
Snow is trying to make a name for himself, but if that name already rings a bell or two with you, there's little wonder.
"My father, Garland Rivers, he played at Michigan," Snow said. "He was an All-America cornerback. My uncle Percy [Snow], he was an All-America linebacker at Michigan State. And my uncle Eric [Snow] played in the NBA. He went to Michigan State also."
It's what you'd call some serious bloodlines.
As the Mountaineer said, Rivers, the father, played at Michigan, where he was known as a fierce hitter and proved to be the only freshman to letter in 1983. He set a single-game tackles record for the Wolverines and made a game-saving interception in the 1986 Fiesta Bowl against Nebraska. He was honored as an All-America player on the Kodak and Walter Camp teams. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions before playing briefly for the Chicago Bears.
One of the uncles, Percy Snow, was a star at Michigan State. He was one of only two players to win both the Butkus and Lombardi awards. Also a product of McKinley, he was a first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs.
And then there was Eric Snow, who played basketball at Michigan State for Jud Heathcote and was a second-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks before being traded to the Seattle SuperSonics. After a less-than-stellar career there, he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, where his career blossomed.
Larry Brown inserted the player into the starting lineup, where he became an anchor at point guard - right beside shooting guard Allen Iverson. Kobe Bryant once said no one guarded him better than Eric Snow. (As an aside, the player's ex-wife appeared on the show "The Real Housewives of Atlanta.")
"Growing up, people knew who I was because of my father," Jewone Snow said. "But they all grew up together. My father is a little older than my uncle Percy, but they all grew up together and everybody knows my father."