Brenden Rice — a senior at USC and wide receiver for the Trojans football team — talks to PEOPLE about following in his father's footsteps
NFL legend Jerry Rice is passing the torch to his son Brenden.
The 21-year-old wide receiver for University of Southern California's Trojans and the heir to NFL royalty is following in his father's footsteps as the face of Breathe Right.
Jerry, 61, first starred in an iconic ad campaign for the nasal strip brand in the 1990s, when he was competing in the professional league.
And on Tuesday, Breathe Right released Brenden's recreation of the imagery as the collegiate athlete prepares to pursue his own career in the NFL once he graduates from USC.
"I'm truly fortunate and blessed to actually be able to come out here and get this father-son tradition going," Brenden tells PEOPLE on the set of the new ad.
"You see the first generation, you see the second generation. So, now that his time has passed within the league, it's like passing the torch," the athlete continues. "Now it's my turn, and I'm glad to build this partnership and keep it going within the Rice family."
Jerry, a 13-time Pro Bowler, says Brenden is "bigger and faster" than he was, but ultimately he's proud that his son adopted his same "work ethic" rooted in "staying hungry" on the field.
However, as Jerry notes, "football is a totally different game now," especially in comparison to his time in the league.
When asked what has changed, Jerry says, "I just feel like players are more protected now than when I played back in the day."
He adds that the physicality "with these guys coming off the line of scrimmage now" is different. "I'm more of a finesse guy. I'm going to try to be a little bit more elusive by double moves, triple moves, all of those things. So, that's the only thing that's a little bit different," he explains.
Brenden says it's hard to pinpoint specific tips he's picked up from his dad, but his earliest memory of playing football with the former great goes back to "staring contests" from his childhood.
He explains, "We would be having an eye staring contest and he was talking about how he used to look up at the ball and have to focus on it and dial in and have to wait for long periods of time while keeping his eyes open to track that ball in."
Jerry insists that "knowing exactly where you are on the field" is key. "Because that's like your playground," he says, highlighting the importance of focus on the field and repetition during practice.
"So, the creativity and stuff like that, and a lot of those exceptional plays that you see that we make, we have done that over and over during practice," he continues. "Then it's all of a sudden you get a chance to see it as a fan. You're like, how did he do that? Because repetition-wise, we have done it over and over."
Beyond the game of football, Brenden says he's learned valuable "leadership capabilities" from his legendary father. "There's a lot that goes into leadership and being that role model and I feel as though he presented himself as a perfect role model all his career and all his life," Brenden says of his dad.
The rising star adds, "He was never the flashy dude, always humble, always inspired others to go out there and create the opportunities for themselves and put forth the work ethic to go ahead and drive forward."
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USC, meanwhile, has been "a blessing," with Brenden adding, "I love it here. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be an actual SC Trojan. There's a long list of legacies, and for me to be a part of this, and what's going on, and what's building in the Lincoln Riley area, I'm truly fortunate and blessed."
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