2014 College Football Doppelgangers

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2014

2014 College Football Doppelgangers

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    Credit: Youtube (Leonel Beas) / Associated Press

    There is time enough the next five months to watch college football players on film, hidden beneath a cloak of padding and uniform, and talk about how they look on the field.

    Now is our last good chance to talk about how they look.

    Yes, it's frivolous, but with Texas A&M and South Carolina kicking off the earnest college football season Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, we only have a few hours of frivolousness left before things get real. (And if last night was any indication, we might not even have that.)

    So let's indulge ourselves with some 2014 doppelgangers—if only to get the offseason out of our systems while we still can.


QB Rakeem Cato (Marshall)—Quincy Acy

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    Credit: Associated Press / Getty Images

    He's not there yet, but he's close. Really close.

    Rakeem Cato's beard-to-head gradient isn't quite as steep as Quincy Acy's (there's a little more stubble up top and a little less fuzz down below), but he's getting there. If he slid the mane down just one or two inches, it would be spot on.

    Also of note: Acy, a young NBA journeyman who now plays for the New York Knicks, fell about 20 spots further than he should of in the 2012 NBA draft because people didn't want to take an "undersized" (6'7") power forward. Cato is a 6'0" quarterback who will probably not be drafted to the NFL at all despite gaudy college numbers.

RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)—Michael K. Williams

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    Credit: 247Sports / Youtube (ZipTartarWarrior)


    Yeah, you're right, that's awful.

    The point is that Leonard Fournette looks like Michael K. Williams, an actor best known for his portrayal of the trench coat-wearing, nursery rhyme-whistling, Robin Hood-style hitman Omar Little on The Wire. His ethos in that role turned Omar into one of the all-time great TV characters, a paragon of soft-spoken fearsomeness.

    Fournette, a freshman running back and the No. 1 overall recruit in the country*, has already been compared (on more than one occasion) to Adrian Peterson, which is high flattery for an 18-year-old.

    Being classed with Omar might be even higher.

    *Per the 247Sports composite rankings

DE Brock Hekking (Nevada)—Brian Bosworth

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    Credit: Youtube (Leonel Beas) / Associated Press

    Brock Hekking's hair does not have a genuine predecessor. It's unique unto itself, a conflation of so many other famous mullets (Joe Dirt, Hulk Hogan, etc.) into one geometric disaster-piece.

    If forced to choose, though, let's give Hekking a Brian Bosworth comparison—for shape-of-mullet if nothing else. Especially in this one picture, Hekking nails what The Boz made so famous: the squared-off front, the way-too-low bandana, the haircut you're dying to make fun of but can't because the person wearing it can lift you over his head with one hand and squeeze your guts out like a grapefruit.

    Hekking's hair is a little less Mayor-of-Whoville than Bosworth's (at least in the picture above), but it's close enough. Bonus points for rocking sunglasses during an interview.

HC Brady Hoke (Michigan)—Jeff Garlin

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    Credit: Getty Images / Associated Press

    Is this the closest resemblance on the list? In form, maybe not.

    But in substance? Absolutely.

    Brady Hoke and Jeff Garlin are each other's spirit animals. They make the same accidentally funny faces. They wear the same puckish smile. They own the same loose-hanging middle-aged-man shirts, and they pull it off even when it's hot out and the sweat stains show up.

    Hoke and Garlin are kindred, a pair of smarter-than-they-look dudes who come off like lovable oafs but are really just lovable.

OC Lane Kiffin (Alabama)—Daniel Tosh

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    Credit: Associated Press / Youtube (Roy Ray)

    There was a time not too long ago when—technically—there was no good way to prove Lane Kiffin and Daniel Tosh were different people. No one had ever seen them in the same room, after all. And didn't it seem a bit convenient that they both worked from Los Angeles? 

    My personal theory?

    Kiffin was a creation of Tosh, a long-seeded character he played a la Sasha Baron Cohen with Borat. It would certainly explain some of the more, um, animated moments of Kiffin's career.

    Alas, Kiffin was fired from USC last year and now coaches under Nick Saban at Alabama. He looks Saban in the eye and calls him "boss." Considering the Fathead of Saban that Tosh—a Miami Dolphins fan—so famously owns, this is either proof that he and Kiffin are different people or a brilliant narrative twist for his Kiffin character.

    I want to say it's the former...but I can't totally rule out the latter.

HC Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech)—Ryan Gosling

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    Credit: Associated Press / Associated Press

    Stop me if you've heard this one before: Kliff Kingsbury looks like Ryan Gosling. Groundbreaking stuff, right?

    But this is not your average doppelganger. It's an important one. In some ways, it transcends what this whole exercise has become. 

    The pair's resemblance is not just some jokey fluke for Internet addicts to laugh about: The comparison has gotten so big, been made so often, become so spot-on perfect that a big part of who Kingsbury is in the public ether revolves around his likeness to the actor.

    No longer is he just the Texas Tech coach. No longer is he even just the handsome Texas Tech coach. He's the handsome Texas Tech coach who looks (and acts) exactly like an A-list movie star.

    And he's not afraid to use that to his advantage

QB Nick Marshall (Auburn)—Papoose

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    Credit: Associated Press / Youtube (djvlad)

    Papoose is a rapper who—in the interest of full disclosure—I had no idea existed before researching this piece. But enough people said he looks like Nick Marshall that I had to check him out, and when I did, I felt like I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone.


    Most of these guys look a lot like each other; Marshall and Papoose look like they were literally separated at birth. You can't replicate that bone structure without a genetic Xerox machine.

    Spooky, spooky stuff.

CB Malkom Parrish (Georgia)—Kevin Hart

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    Credit: Youtube (Jake Rowe) / Associated Press

    Oftentimes, the best cornerbacks stay out of the spotlight—during the game, at least. If they do their job correctly, they are rarely seen or heard from. They are locking up a side of the field.

    That might be a bad omen for Georgia freshman Malkom Parrish, a highly rated cornerback whose doppelganger, Kevin Hart, does the opposite of staying out of the spotlight. He made so many movies and commercials last year that it often felt impossible to avoid him.

    Then again, if Parrish ends up playing the "Star" position instead of the traditional corner, being more like Hart might be a blessing.

HC Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M)—Omar Epps

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    Credit: Associated Press / Associated Press

    This one actually omits one step of the transitive property:

    1. Kevin Sumlin looks like NFL head coach Mike Tomlin.
    2. Tomlin looks like actor Omar Epps.
    3. Therefore, Sumlin looks like Epps.

    Listing it as Sumlin-Epps felt cleaner than listing the triad, but make no mistake: All of these guys could pass for one another (and another).

    Even though it gets diluted a bit from Premise 1 to Premise 3—i.e., Tomlin looks more like Epps than Sumlin does—this one was too good to pass up.

QB Marcus Mariota (Oregon)—Rob Kardashian

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    Credit: Getty Images / Associated Press

    It feels dirty comparing a marketable college athlete such as Marcus Mariota to a member of the Kardashian clan.

    Mariota has made a lot of money for a lot of people with his blood and sweat and tears the past few seasons, but he has not seen a dime. The Kardashians are famous for doing...well, the opposite.

    Alas, Mariota and the brother of Kourtney, Kim and Khloe share a common face, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I don't know enough about Rob to speak ill of him—for all I know, he's a swell dude.

    That's not gonna stop him from showing up on anti-Mariota College GameDay signs at some point this season.

QB Bo Wallace (Ole Miss)—Sunshine

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    Credit: Associated Press / Youtube (erikacossio20)

    No, this isn't just because Bo Wallace is a quarterback in a red jersey with long blond hair and a viral nickname and a sometimes vacant look on his face. It's also because he...um...because he...

    Actually, you know what? That's exactly what it is. Wallace is a quarterback in a red jersey with long blond hair and a viral nickname and a sometimes vacant look on his face. That's pretty much all it takes for someone to be Sunshine from Remember the Titans.

    But don't just take my word for it.

    On this one, the people have spoken.