Jeremiah Trotter Jr. gained internet fame last October by de-cleating a quarterback on a pivotal third down.
But Jeremiah Sr., jumping up and down in excitement from the St. Joseph’s Prep fan section, might have been the one most injured from the play.
“I forgot I was old and had several knee surgeries,” the former Eagle said. “I felt it the next day.”
Jeremiah Jr. and Marvin Harrison Jr., sons of two NFL greats, have begun to forge their own legacies on the football field. They’re both major contributors on a Hawks team headed into the PIAA Class 6A state championship after beating Pine Richland Saturday, 37-0, in Altoona, Pa.
Jeremiah Jr., a 6-foot-1, 195-pound linebacker and Marvin Jr., a 6-foot-3, 175-pound receiver, both have multiple Division-I offers as sophomores.
“They’re as talented as sophomores as any I’ve ever coached,” said Hawks coach Gabe Infante, who has coached several standout recruits, most recently Georgia running back D’Andre Swift. “If that says anything for them, the future bodes well for them.”
Against La Salle last season, Jeremiah Jr. had been integrated enough into the Hawks' varsity defense to be trusted on a blitz call. He saw the opening and had a big sack during the Hawks' 28-14 win.
"He’s always liked to fly around and hit people, " Jeremiah Sr. said.
Marvin Jr., who transferred to the Prep after his freshman season with the Explorers, didn’t get to see the play that night because he was running his route. But Jeremiah Jr. left an impression.
“Watching it on film, we were like, ‘Man, he’s a freshman, too?' ” Marvin Jr. said.
“That hit sprung things off for me my freshman year,” Jeremiah Jr. said. “My dad tried to be cool and just nod his head, but on the inside I could tell he just wanted to jump around and start screaming.”
Before Jeremiah Jr. was the one making highlights, he was watching them. He was about 12 when he first realized the presence “The Axe Man” had on the field, looking up his dad’s YouTube highlights and being awestruck by a reel shown at one of his dad’s speaking events.
“It was kind of surprising to see it,” Jeremiah Jr. said. “It was like ‘This guy made that hit?’ Because he’s just ‘dad’ to me."
Marvin Jr. is already rated a four-star recruit by 247sports. His dad played for Roman Catholic from 1998-90, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
According to TedSilary.com, Marvin Harrison tallied 86 catches for 1,454 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Cahilites in his career. He still holds the NFL record for most catches in a single season with 143 in 2002.
Jeremiah Jr. and his younger brother, Josiah, have trained and learned the game from Jeremiah Sr. since their youth football days. It wasn’t until Jeremiah Jr. got to the Prep that his dad was able to just sit, watch, and enjoy his eldest son’s football career instead of coaching him.
Jeremiah Jr. gained more than 30 pounds between his freshman and sophomore year working out with his dad. Jeremiah Sr., a Texas native, grew up with chopping wood for his family business as his form of exercise. Last offseason, he brought his sons back to Texas, using his experience as a professional to train them, teach them the game, and show them his roots.
His son doesn’t believe him just yet, but Jeremiah Sr. believes the best Trotter wearing No. 54 has yet to come.
“Mark my words, he’s going to be twice as good as me,” Jeremiah Sr. said. “He’s already better than me, he’s already smarter than me when it comes to the game because he has me. I had the best dad in the world, but he didn’t play football. [Jeremiah Jr.] knows more about football now than I did my rookie year.”
Harrison’s dad isn’t quite ready to make the same concession.
“He hasn’t admitted it yet,” Harrison said. “There’s not much trash talking, but he knows that I want to be better than him.”
But Jeremiah Sr.'s praise doesn’t come without the occasional refrain.
“Every now and then I remind them, ‘You didn’t just wake up good,’ " he joked. “You got that talent from somewhere.”