February 19, 2008

McGee keeps a full plate on and off field

OAKLAND PARK, Fla. - Lauderhill (Fla.) Plantation athlete Brandon McGee has had an exciting few weeks. The versatile high school quarterback has been receiving offer after offer but that's not the only thing keeping him on his toes. Now McGee is receiving offers out of the blue and is being forced to differentiate between the quarterback offers, the defensive back offers or simply the athlete offers.

Wherever he ends up, McGee is sure to excel.

Some of the most recent offers for the 6-foot-0, 170-pounder have been Rutgers, Georgia, Miami and one SEC school that he wasn't expecting to hear from.

"Auburn was kind of surprising because I wasn't expecting that at all," McGee said. "Actually I looked at the envelope and usually I don't open most of my letters, so I just opened it and it was an offer so I was kind of surprised by that.

"I've probably talked to Coach Gran maybe twice. I'm not sure but no, I haven't been in contact with the Auburn coaches."

McGee has had much more interaction with his hometown program of Miami and his offer from the Hurricanes came as less of a shock.

"My coach called Coach Stockton and he put me on the phone with Coach Shannon," he said. "I was talking to Coach Shannon and I asked him what position they'd be recruiting me as and he said DB, punt returner and kick returner. They've seen my tape and they've seen my athleticism."

Shannon's success in South Florida was the strength of his highly ranked 2008 recruiting class. He is hoping that players like McGee took notice.

"It's real exciting because they've got a great program down there with all the kids they've got from Northwestern and Booker T.," he said. "We talked on the phone a little bit and he said that Miami is building a program and they're coming back up so I'm definitely interested in Miami."

Shannon's approach to recruiting McGee, who has been clocked as low as 4.4 in the 40, is beginning to be the common practice. The high school quarterback is picking up more and more offers as an athlete.

Early in the process McGee had been strongly in favor of playing quarterback. Consequently, he has had a heightened interest in schools that like him as a quarterback. After a Tuesday offer from West Virginia came in for McGee to play quarterback, the junior said that he was "very interested" in the Mountaineers. However, as the process has developed, McGee has found himself opening up to other position options.

"I always said that I want to play quarterback and everything but if a big school comes along and offers me as a DB or wide receiver, I wouldn't mind making an adjustment," he said. "Maybe the best thing for me to do is play cornerback or wide receiver in college so that's what I'm doing."

One thing is for sure: whatever position McGee plays, he will work hard at it. McGee has shown with his offseason commitment that he is doing the necessary steps to make it on the next level. That hard work has convinced his high school coach to allow him to play on both sides of the ball as a senior.

"I think he's going to be a little more lenient," he said. "He really doesn't want his quarterback to get hurt but I said, 'coach, I'm gonna build out the body strength this summer,' so I'll have to condition really hard this summer to play both sides of the ball."

McGee has left little doubt that he has the drive to do the work that is needed.

"I'm actually setting goals for myself. I'm not letting anything get in my way or stopping me. I pretty much have my mind made up that I gotta get away from this so you know football is my escape route. So I'm definitely focused on football."

Despite his focus on football, McGee is already an academic qualifier as well. From now until signing day, McGee will be going to a flurry of camps and combines, attempting to lead his team to a state championship and he hopes to help his teammates get recruited by college programs.

There is a lot on his plate but if anyone is versatile enough to do it, it's McGee.

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