The snow began to descend on Soldier Field as the Chicago Bears were presented the National Football Conference Championship trophy after defeating the New Orleans Saints 39-14 on Jan. 21, 2006.
Eight-year-old DeKaylin ‘D.K.’ Metcalf took it all in. He was witnessing his father achieve the biggest accomplishment in professional football.
Terrence Metcalf and the Bears were going to play in the Super Bowl.
“I got invited into the locker room, and I got to hold the trophy and celebrate with the players,” D.K. said. “It was really fun to be around.”
At each point of his father’s All-American career at Ole Miss and seven-years in the NFL, D.K was present.
The four-star wide receiver was born on Dec. 14, 1997, during Terrence’s freshman year of college. From joining his father on the field after games inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to watching his daddy block defensive linemen on Sundays, D.K. had a front row seat as Terrence made his dreams a reality. He was also afforded the opportunity to jump-start his own journey as a football player.
“(D.K.) got to be around a lot of guys who were really good at the game,” Terrence said. “When he was in about the second or third grade, (former Bears safety) Bobby Gray started working with him. At that age when you’re a parent trying to train your child, they don’t want to listen to you, so you get them with someone else. … The things he remembers helped him become a better receiver. He remembers all of the passing routes he was taught by the guys in the NFL.”
Nine years later, the torch has been passed, and it’s Terrence’s turn to watch his 6-foot-4, 220-pound son’s expedition in football.
This season, the two will share the same field during the four-star wide receiver’s senior year. Terrence is Oxford’s new defensive line coach.
“I don’t take the job lightly,” Terrence said. “I’m a professional at the offensive line, but I know what it takes to defeat me. Our defensive line is the strength for the first time in a long time over in Oxford.”
Oxford’s 35-0 shutout of Southaven in Week 1 is proof of that.
Since his son began playing in the Oxford system as a sixth-grader, Terrence has always been around, serving as a mentor to a number of D.K.’s teammates. Now that he’s part of the program in an official capacity, several notice a tangible difference.
“He motivates our guys to keep working hard,” Chargers quarterback Jack Abraham said. “Maybe we didn’t have that sort of motivation last year. He works our guys really hard.”
Following his burst onto the scene as a varsity starter his freshman year, D.K. has walked a path nearly identical to his father’s.
Both were ranked as the No. 1 player in the state at points during their high school careers. They’re also the second father-son duo behind Mount Olive’s Steve McNair and Oak Grove’s Steve McNair Jr. to hold the Dandy Dozen nod.
In February, D.K. will cross another milestone when he, too, signs with Ole Miss.
“It was a blessing because it was something that I’d done,” Metcalf said. “To see him walking the same walk is special, and I’d be a fool to say I wasn’t excited for him to commit to Ole Miss. Other schools are going to come and recruit you, but I was very excited to see that Ole Miss offered him and he wanted to play there.”
This fall with his dad by his side, D.K. and Oxford will attempt to make it back to the 5A title game for a third straight year and send Chargers coach Johnny Hill out with a championship.
Coming up short in each of the past two seasons, D.K. will have to push himself harder to get past the Chargers’ competition.
He won’t have to look far for motivation and a blueprint on how to be successful.
Having an NFL veteran in his household is an advantage he wouldn’t dream of trading away.
“It’s like cheating,” D.K. said. “He knows what it takes to get there. He just stays on my back about working hard, being a leader and not a follower.”
Contact Courtney Cronin at (601) 961-7091 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @CourtneyRCronin on Twitter.