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You can't blame the guy for wanting his son to play football for Michigan.

But as much as Jon Runyan wanted to see his namesake wearing the winged helmet of his alma mater, he didn't push. He did, however, have one stipulation during Jon Daniel's recruitment.

"I told him, 'You can go anywhere you want to, just not Ohio State,' " said Jon Runyan, a 14-year NFL veteran who played at Michigan from 1993-95 and was an All-American his final season. "I wanted him to go to Michigan because, selfishly, it gives me a reason to go back.

"It's different because you always get the thing because he's my son, but I never really pressured him to do anything. Obviously, being a legacy, people are going to look at him different. He's my son and being a namesake, also, you don't want to put the pressure on him, but it doesn't bother him. I am who I am, and he is who he is."

Jon Daniel Runyan committed to Michigan as a junior and maintained his commitment even after former coach Brady Hoke was fired. The family recently met with new coach Jim Harbaugh at their New Jersey home, and then father and son visited Michigan last weekend.

"I didn't think twice about (the commitment after Hoke was fired), and I don't think he did, either," Runyan said. "He valued the tradition and the education."

Jon Daniel Runyan is 6-foot-5, 275-pounder who became a starter in his sophomore season. His father was 6-7 and 330 pounds and was a fourth-round NFL pick after his junior year.

Runyan said his son, who turns 18 in August, will get bigger and stronger.

"He's young; he's got time," Runyan said of his son. "Hopefully, he can catch that growth spurt. Back in the '90s, I came in at Michigan at 6-7, 6-8, but my son's wingspan is as big as mine, and his back is wider than mine.

"He's a better athlete than I am. He has better hands and feet than I do. He's not as tall, but he's got a bigger frame. We'll see what they can do with it."

The younger Runyan has been able to use his father as a resource for learning how to play offensive tackle. Early during his high school career, Jon Daniel played defensive line, backup tight end and backup kicker and punter before moving to a starting role at right tackle as a sophomore.

During that season, Jon Runyan, who was a U.S. representative from New Jersey after his NFL career ended, started spending time at his son's St. Joseph's team training camp helping the offensive line.

"I was throwing in my 2 cents," Runyan said. "I did as much as possible. But you're not taking a coaching role, you're in a consulting role."

He laughed about having to tell the coaches what exactly his son was doing wrong, because Jon Daniel had a harder time taking instruction from his father.

As for Harbaugh, Runyan and his son had a chance to meet the coach a few weeks ago during an in-home visit.

"I had a great conversation with him," Runyan said of the initial meeting. "It took me a long time to realize that no one is ever going to challenge you in your life like your football coach. No one is ever going to coach you as hard. I tell my son every day, 'You know a coach's job when you first get out there? To make you quit, and he's going to try to do that every day. They all do it. You have to go into this and buy in.' "

anegelique.chengelis@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/chengelis

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