May 20, 2008

Rebels' depth chart intrigues 4-star athlete

Brandon McGee is less than nine months away from National Signing Day, sure to be one of the most important days of his young life.

The four-star athlete from Lauderhill (Plantation), Fla., is taking the decision seriously, in large part because he hopes that by making the smart choice, he will be putting himself on a three-year clock to fulfilling his ultimate dream.

McGee, a 5-foot-11, 186-pounder with 4.59-second speed in the 40-yard dash, wants to play in the National Football League. Schools hoping to land his considerable services would be advised to keep that squarely in mind when they're making their recruiting pitches.

"Winning national championships and winning bowl games is all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day, it really doesn't put food in your mouth," McGee said. "If I could go there and play early and get exposure, that's all I really care about. At the end of the day, my ultimate goal is to play in the NFL."

McGee, who plays quarterback and cornerback at Plantation, has 31 offers, including one from Ole Miss. LSU recently offered, joining a list that includes Ohio State, Miami, Florida State, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Illinois, among others.

"I'm definitely surprised, but my coach always told me, 'You get out what you put in,' and I definitely think I deserve everything I'm getting right now," McGee said. "At the same time, I still stand very humble and thanking God that I have the blessings that I do."

Ole Miss has a chance to land McGee, he said, based on a conversation the prospect had with Rebel recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks coach Chris Vaughn recently.

"He told me they were quite thin at corner and they had to move some guys around just to get through the spring," McGee said, referring to the Rebels' shifting of Marshay Green from wide receiver to cornerback and Jeremy McGee from running back to cornerback. "I was quite intrigued by that. The key thing is playing time. Exposure is the main deal. No matter where you go, it's all about exposure really. You see guys nowadays getting drafted from I-AA schools and smaller Division I schools, so it's all about playing time and exposure. All I have to see out of Ole Miss is the ability to play early."

McGee loves offense, but with an eye toward the future, he believes he's better suited to play on the defensive side of the ball.

"I'm a very athletic player. I play quarterback and they always say you want to play the best athlete at quarterback in high school," McGee said. "I'm smart with the football. I'm definitely a playmaker and I'm just ambitious on the field. I'm always thinking of a way to get an extra yard. I thought about playing quarterback at the next level but being my height _ six feet _ that's a short quarterback. I could be a big corner, so I think I could have more success at the cornerback position being that I have the footwork to excel at that position."

The Rebels have another couple of connections with McGee as well. Ole Miss is very much in the mix for his teammate, cornerback Josh Robinson, and former Ole Miss quarterback Steve Davis is Plantation's head coach.

"He tells me about Ole Miss, and I was following Coach (Houston) Nutt when he was over at Arkansas and they had Darren McFadden," McGee said. "Coach Vaughn actually asked me about being in that Wild Hog package like they had with McFadden. He was asking me if I would have any problem jumping in that. I definitely wouldn't have any problems with that at all."

McGee said he'll embark on a summer tour of sorts soon, checking out schools all over the Southeast and the Midwest.

"I'm going to get in the car and drive around," McGee said. "I'm probably going to fly into a Midwest city and hit all the Midwest schools. I was talking to my coach about making a stop at Ole Miss probably when I go up to Tennessee and other schools in the Southern region.

"I'm still open right now. There are a lot of stand-out schools. LSU stands out. Ohio State stands out. Illinois stands out. Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee, I'm still wide open. I can't say any school stands out over the others. My dad always tells me, 'Florida ain't going nowhere. Your home's not going anywhere. Your room's not going anywhere.' It's a three-year experience that I'm off doing something different away from home. I don't have a problem leaving the state at all, if that's what it comes down to."

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