One thing certainly runs deep in the Mornhinweg family – football.
It all starts with Marty Mornhinweg, a longtime NFL coach and currently the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator. The football gene continued down to his son, Skyler Mornhinweg, a promising 2012 quarterback prospect out of St. Joseph's Prep in the city.
“I grew up with football,” the younger Mornhinweg said. “I wanted to play ever since I could even say the word football.”
Some of his favorite childhood memories come from growing up around the game his family loves.
“When my dad was coaching the 49ers he was the offensive coordinator for Steve Young,” Mornhinweg reminisced. “I remember I was a kindergartner, (and) Steve Young was talking to a reporter and I ran up to him and jumped on him while he was talking to reporters after practice. I was a little guy and he was always so friendly and welcoming.”
Growing up around NFL players like Young has even changed the way Mornhinweg plays his own game.
“I really love that Young is such a mobile QB — he could run and scramble and get out of pressure,” Mornhinweg said. “I try to stay agile and run around a little bit. I guess in that sense I try to model my play after him.”
Just like his idol and his father, the younger Mornhinweg has made a name for himself on the gridiron, but it wasn’t always easy.
“My father didn’t let me play football until third grade,” Mornhinweg said. “My first practice with pads, I broke my arm in the first drill of hitting."
He continued, “I was out half of my first year, but I still loved it and I went from there.”
His father is the reason why he plays the game, and a large part of the reason that he loves it so much.
“He’s a great dad, even as just a dad,” Mornhinweg said. “But he is a coach, too, and one of the things I enjoy most about my life is that he can help me so much. Everything he says I just cling to because I know he knows what he is talking about.”
He added, “Whenever I needed something and wanted to learn he would help me and has helped me ever since. Whenever I need anything he watches me throw and helps me.”
The help from father to son extends further than the field; it goes straight into the recruiting process. The Mornhinweg family thought that was over a long time ago.
When Mornhinweg was a freshman at St. Joe’s Prep, he committed to Stanford.
But earlier this year, Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh left for the top job with the 49ers.
Largely fueled by that change, Mornhinweg decided to take a step back from his Cardinal commitment and is back on the recruiting market.
His most recent offer is from Penn State, and his recruitment is showing no signs of slowing down.
“I have other offers from Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois and Stanford,” Mornhinwig said of his recent recruitment. “I am keeping my options open right now, so we will see what happens.”
Some of the best guidance that he has received about recruiting has been from his father.
“I remember he was talking about when he was looking at schools and he told me that he wasn’t sure where he wanted to go,” Mornhinweg said of his father. “Then University of Montana called him up out of nowhere and they told him: go to the place that wants you, not the place that you want to go. I think that is really good advice. I want to go to a place that I am wanted and where I feel comfortable.”
Marty Mornhinweg went on to sign with Montana and became one of the best quarterbacks in school history. So Skyler is completely comfortable using his dad as a sounding board while making up his mind on a college.
“I think my dad and I are going to sit down sometime this week and figure out what schools I want to visit,” Mornhinweg said. “Within the week I should have a pretty good idea where I want to go on visits.”
But when it is all said and done, the decision will be purely Skyler’s.
“I think my dad is going to have a lot of impact,” Mornhinweg said. “I know he knows football and he knows a lot about colleges. He wants to help me, but he tells me at the end of the day that it’s completely up to me.”
Where the younger Mornhinweg will continue the family tradition is unknown, but many schools are anxiously awaiting his decision — including the Nittany Lions.