The Fox Sports 1 announcers will surely make the comparison early in their telecast of Friday night’s high school football game. You can’t blame them.
Bishop Gorman High quarterback Randall Cunningham II, who is lanky at 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds and quick on his feet, plays like the second coming of his famous father. He even has that long throwing motion.
Former UNLV and NFL standout Randall Cunningham is credited with helping revolutionize the quarterback position in 16 professional seasons, as he was one of the first players to have success throwing and running the football. His son, a senior at the four-time defending state champion powerhouse, is following suit.
“I don’t try to mimic him, but it happens all the time, because we are similar in body and shape,” Cunningham II says. “I think it is cool to be compared to him. He is known as one of the best. To be compared to the best is pretty amazing.”
Cunningham will lead Gorman onto the field Friday for its Fox Sports 1 televised game against Phoenix’s Mountain Pointe. He has big shoes to fill—and not just his father’s. Cunningham will be a first-year starter for the perennial high school power, taking over for arguably the best quarterback in Nevada history: Anu Solomon, a University of Arizona freshman who led Gorman to four state titles and won 56 of 60 games while breaking the state’s passing record.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” Cunningham says. “I’ve learned to handle pressure from [living] up to the expectation created with my dad being in the NFL from a young age.”
In a reserve role last season, Cunningham completed 21-of-32 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 42 times for 483 yards and seven scores. Just like his dad, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who passed for nearly 30,000 NFL yards, he appears to be a threat passing or rushing.
Colleges have taken notice. Despite the limited playing time, Cunningham has double-digit scholarship offers coming from the likes of Baylor (he certainly resembles ex-Baylor standout Robert Griffin III), LSU, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Utah, UNLV and others. Mississippi State sent 100 recruiting letters in one day—100 reasons why he should play there.
“[Former UNLV coach] Harvey Hyde came out here in the spring to watch a practice,” says Gorman coach Tony Sanchez. “After, he came up and said, ‘Coach, it’s like watching his dad all over again.’”
Cunningham is also an elite high jumper in track, clearing 7 feet last spring to break a state record that held for more than 30 years. Some feel he could potentially be an Olympian. But first things first—helping Gorman go for a fifth-straight state championship.