What’s not to like about Bishop Gorman quarterback Randall Cunningham Jr?

Posted: August 24, 2013 in General, Preps
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bishop Gorman QB Randall Cunningham Jr.
Photo Credit: Barry Wong

By W.G. Ramirez

When you grow up in Las Vegas, you’re bred under one rule when it comes to high school loyalty: if you don’t attend Bishop Gorman High School, you despise the Gaels.

I didn’t attend Bishop Gorman High School.

That being said, I like Randall Cunningham Jr.

If the name sounds familiar, he is indeed the son of the former UNLV great and NFL all-pro with the same name and is indeed someone who is emerging on his own accord. Junior, a senior this season, is the starting quarterback for the Gaels and opened the 2013 campaign taking his lumps in a 28-21 loss to Phoenix’s Mountain Pointe High School.

The game was televised in front of a national audience on Fox Sports 1, introducing America to one of the finest athletes in the nation – both on the gridiron and in track and field. And though the nationally ranked Gaels lost, Cunningham Jr. didn’t disappoint the home crowd and kept his team in the game by settling in and taking control of the offense midway through the second quarter.

The 6-foot-5, 180-pounder rushed for 103 yards and completed 5 of 12 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.

“Once the first quarter and the second quarter started moving along, I felt like I definitely picked it up and was able to do my best to lead the team,” he said. “The first start is definitely going to be a little bit nervous. I went in there and my first two passes could have been much better. I feel like I was still getting a little bit of the nerves out.”

And while he bears an uncanny, on-field resemblance to his father on the gridiron, he was also named last year’s Gatorade Nevada Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year after culminating his junior season by clearing a state-record 7 feet, 3 1/4 inches to win the Division I state high jump title. It was his best jump of the season, and ranked No. 1 in the nation according to athletic.net.

“He’s way better than I was when I was a kid,” Cunningham Sr. said during a private interview before his son’s season-opening game. “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.

“He’s well advanced, and a lot of people would not know that about him.”

Listening to the elder Cunningham speak, it’s evident the pride he’s had in watching his son mature. And while it’d be easy to ride the coattails of being the son of one of the most successful quarterbacks to play the game professionally, the former Philadelphia Eagle and Minnesota Viking said his son takes it in stride, receives advice graciously and shines in his own light.

“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.'” Cunningham Sr. said. “He looks at me and he respects what I say to him. Even in the times when he might not want to hear what I have to say, when it’s kind of going against the grain, he still receives.”

Cunningham Jr. has numerous college offers, and he’s not shy about the fact he’s looking for a four-year deal that will allow him to play football in the fall, high jump in the spring and eventually get him to where his father was a human highlight reel – the NFL.

Included in the dozen or so colleges who are coveting Cunningham are Baylor, LSU, Arizona State, UCLA and Kansas State.

“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.”

Ultimately, both Cunningham men say Faith will steer junior in the right direction.

“He’s just really trying to enjoy himself, putting God number one,” said Cunningham Sr., an ordained minister the past 9 1/2 years and pastor at his church, Remnant Ministries. “God has blessed him from above.”

Said Junior: “I like to start my day out and end my day out with being able to talk to God and pray. Faith is definitely the number one thing in my life.”

Yeah, by Vegas rules, I’m not supposed to like Bishop Gorman.

But as a sports journalist, a father and a man of Faith, I like, respect and appreciate Randall Cunningham Jr.

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