For anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to read the spot on my son, I wanted to point out that not only did he never engage in bulking-and-cutting, he never actually 'dieted down' to get his abs. In fact, over the course of a year or so his calories never much varied from about 2,000 a day, sometimes a little over, sometimes a little under.
In the early going, he ate three or four meals a day. Over the last few months he switched to two meals a day at roughly 2pm and 8pm. He did get more protein that his dad gets, but probably not a gram per pound of bodyweight.
As he got stronger and stronger (he increased his deadlift from 115 to 405 over the course of a year), he cut back on his exercises, recently to just two compound movements three days a week.
No cardio. None.