Gosh, Joey. I could use a good back shaver.
Your point regarding genetics, and duration, is well spoken. Lots of guys hate hearing that.
I grew up on a cattle ranch in Nebraska. From an early age I was fed well. Tons of milk, eggs, ham, pancakes, spaghetti, bacon, steak, and so on, but, very, very, very few simple sugars other than some orange juice, or small occasional chocolate cake. YUMM. Rarely, fried food. Boiled potates, grilled steak, and so on.
I've said this before, but, I'll say it again: when I was 17, I was 175 at 12% fat at 5'5", and had never even heard of juice. When I was 28, I was 228, at 5'5", at 11% fat. At 47, I pack 195 at about 8% right now. I get about as heavy as 220, but, bringing all that weight off to compete at open middleweight is a drag, so, I'm thinking I don't want to get as fat, nor as heavy as last year. Once I get in the 200s, I start to elevate my bp a bit and so on. That being said, all my CMP numbers are perfect with one exception: my cholesterol is low 140, and my HDL is low (around 17 to 30, where it could be as high at 45, or more). That's mostly from a low fat diet. More and more science is saying that cholesterol is NOT a good indicator for morality. Of course, that won't change a lot considering the millions being made on Crestcor, Lipitor, and so on..
I LITERALLY eat until it hurts, and then eat extra, sometimes, (not lately) as I don't like my stomach sticking out. I'm one of those lucky guys, that while, I'm not quite a super-meso somatype, I'm real close. I can LOOK at weights and grow. Lately, I eat consistent meal, at about 50 grams of protein per pop, and just eat all day long. I write code / administer systems for a living and sometimes I "forget" to eat. I actually do my very best on a strict contest regimen where I track everything.
The story about big ol farm boys, and big ol boys from Texas is true. If you eat, you'll get back. Here in Texas, though, the culture revolves around excess. The portion sizes are to big, and nearly everything is fried. I didn't know you could fry ice cream, Twinkies, Snickers, nor turkey until I moved to Texas. Here in Texas, they fry EVERYTHING, and that's why Dallas is the stroke capitol of the world, and Houston is the heart attack capitol of the world. All those icky things in fried food will kill you fast.
With regard to overall bigness, and let's be honest...the misinformation campaigns of late have had some effect. Folks don't want to look freaky (most can't, anyway), but, want to look, what I call "well-fed." That's about bringing on more calories than you consume, and just allowing your muscles to mature.
Don't forget: 2/3 of your lean muscle mass is in your legs. You grow when you aren't lifting. You have to have adequate calories, rest, recovery, and stimulation.
Lots of guys eat less all day than I eat in my first couple of meals. You have to shovel it in, day after day, year after year, and it needs to be good food. Not crap fast food.