Hamilton's path to football success intertwines with father

Darius Hamilton hasn't always been good. Just two years ago, Don Bosco Prep coach Greg Toal would have labeled "average to below average." And multiple accounts described him as an underperformer on the field and in the classroom.

So how do you explain the All-State defensive lineman's ascension as a junior, when he racked up 63 tackles and 13.5 sacks to become the state's third-best prospect as a senior and leader of the nation's top team? Well, having the genes of his father Keith, a former star defensive lineman for the New York Giants, doesn't hurt.

But Hamilton's path to glory and connection with his father goes much deeper than football, as this stirring story by the Star-Ledger's Matthew Stanmyre highlights.

As good as Hamilton has become, though, he isn't the sole reason for Don Bosco Prep's recent success. Check out the senior quintet that anchors the Ironmen in our September cover story.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.