MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Back when Kevin Randleman was at Ohio State - before he was known in Mixed Martial Arts as "The Monster," before he was the UFC heavyweight champion and opponent of famed names like Randy Couture, Chuck Lidell, Rampage Jackson, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and Fedor Emelianko - he was a middling wrestler for the Buckeyes.
"I get this story all the time," said Randleman's son, Calvin, who is now a starting linebacker for UNLV. "After his first year, they had a guy who was national champion in his weight class and he said, 'Forget that. I'm going to go home, lift, do heavy squats and come back heavier.' They wanted him wrestling at 155 (pounds) and he went up to 177.
"He basically said, 'You've got a guy who's a national champion, but this is what's going to happen for me. It's going to happen and you can let it happen or you can get out of my way.' I think that's an awesome perspective."
That perspective pushed Kevin Randleman to two national titles at 177 pounds and enshrinement in 2004 in the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.
It also led his son from Division II Ashland (Ohio) University to UNLV two summers ago.
Calvin grew up in northern Ohio as the son of single parents who worked to raise their boy and manage Kevin's fighting career. Kevin would debut in 1996 when Calvin was 8 years old and win the UFC heavyweight title three years later.
When Calvin was 13, his father had moved to Las Vegas, and Calvin would visit for a month in the summer and train for his high school football season.
Before his senior year at Huron High, Calvin nearly decided to stay and spend his last year in Las Vegas, only to change his mind and eventually sign a partial scholarship at Ashland. He played safety and in 2007 had 51 tackles and two interceptions.
His dad kept on him about thinking bigger.
"He'd always tell me there was a college team out here, middle of the pack, but trying to get back to the upper echelon, a good, hard-working group," the younger Randleman said. "He said, 'They're just like you, Calvin.' He'd had me in the gym since a young age and he knew me and thought it'd be a good fit for me. I finally took him up on the offer."
Three seasons later, he's third on the UNLV team with 30 tackles and has one of the team's seven sacks as son exhibits the strengths acquired from his parents.
His mother, Tina Black, is "very inspirational" for having her son when she was a high school senior - "I took away her last volleyball season," Calvin said - but eventually getting her GED and phlebotomy license and now working drawing blood at a hospital at home in Ohio.