Perry QB Greg McGhee ready to prove his doubters wrong
Posted May 21, 2011 9:21 pm
Photo courtesy of William McBride/New Pittsburgh Courier
In the ultra-competitive world of Division I-A college football recruiting–there’s plenty of prospects that likely deserve Division I-A scholarships each year but for various reasons those offers never come.
Maybe they’re overlooked because of size, maybe they’re overlooked because they’re not fast enough, maybe they’re just overlooked because college coaches made a poor evaluation.
Whatever their case may be, there are plenty of prospects that don’t go to a Division I-A football program that should be.
FinestPreps happened to stumble upon a hidden gym recently who didn’t land any Division I-A offers at the quarterback position.
Just how overlooked was he?
This product of Perry Traditional Academy is so dynamic the coach who recruited him (Ted White) at Howard University compared his game to Michael Vick.
He’s got such a high ceiling that this writer thinks he could end up getting a shot to shine on Sundays in the NFL a few years down the road.
Who’s the hidden gem that got overlooked by numerous schools across the country?
Of course I’m talking about the dynamic left-handed signal-caller for Perry (Pittsburgh, Pa.) Greg McGhee.
McGhee was brought to my attention by a very well-respected trainer in the Pittsburgh area that we’ve profiled on FinestPreps–DeWayne Brown.
Brown was well aware of McGhee’s athletic exploits because he’s been training him since the seventh grade.
After looking at his highlight tape there was no question I was doing a story on him–it was love at first sight!
The key question I kept asking myself was how did this kid not go Division I-A?
Blessed with beautiful footwork in the pocket, McGhee is a dual-threat quarterback who is a passer first, runner second.
He can get about 30-40 yards on the ground pretty easily but his true strength lies in his passing ability.
The 6’2, 190 pounder puts tremendous zip on the football and is very accurate with the football–often hitting his receivers in stride on his deep balls.
One play in his highlight tape a defender comes from the right side, he steps up in the pocket and bounces to the left, finds open real estate before cutting loose a hissing spiral that hits his receiver at the 47 yard line.
The comparisons to Michael Vick are very legitimate and although McGhee is not quite as gifted of a runner as Vick is in the open field–he’s pretty darn close!
He makes defenders in the open field miss with ease and he makes dancing around the defense look effortless.
On his Steel City Sports World highlight tape on YouTube (1:19), he takes the line drive of a snap and catches the football around his ankles at the 50 yard line.
Then he races down the sideline all the way until the 30 before he slashes to the inside and makes a defender miss.
He then shakes another defender at around the 16 yard line, leaving the defender rolling on the astroturf.
Slashing to the inside of the field, McGhee once again makes another defender miss at around the 10 yard line before cruising to the end zone.
It’s a beautifully crafted 50 yard touchdown run that shows you how naturally gifted the kid they nicknamed “Goater” truly is.
The next play on that same highlight tape (1: 32), the shifty quarterback takes the snap at the 34 yard line immediately races toward the line of scrimmage and slices through the defense before he’s met by a slew of defenders at the 22.
One defender grabs his ankles but “Goater” spins out of his grasp.
He bounces to the left side of the field for a second, making one defender miss, then bounces back to the inside, sliding his way through two more defenders.
He finally makes another defender miss around the 6 yard line by using his slashing ability once again before reaching the end zone.
Once again the talented athlete had made a rather miraculous play look rather routine in the open field and so effortless.
What will remind you even more of Vick is when you watch McGhee’s effortless release and his ability to put plenty of zip on the football.
The dynamic southpaw makes it look so natural and so easy when he flicks the football down the field to his receivers.
For intance on his Steel City Sports World highlight tape on YouTube (2:51)–he takes the snap, rolls out to his right, pulls up at the 35, and fires a hissing spiral to his receiver for the touchdown.
It’s hard to not think of Vick when watching his highlights–the similarites are definitely there.
His tape is dazzling and his high school but the only Division I-A programs showing interest in him late in the recruiting process were the Ohio Bobcats and the Toledo Rockets.
Ohio landed another quarterback and told him they didn’t have a spot but Toledo wanted to offer him a scholarship as a wide receiver.
He turned the Rockets down and I say good for him–he’s far too gifted of a quarterback to play receiver at the collegiate level.
“Goater” was named the All-City Football Team’s Offensive MVP by the New Pittsburgh Courier for the 2010 football season.
In 2010, he led the Perry Commodores to an 11-1 overall record and an unblemished mark against City League opponents.
He passing stats were sparkling–torching defenses to the tune of 2,665 yards, 29 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in the air.
The dynamic dual threat also added more than 12 rushing touchdowns on the ground in leading Perry to their first City League crown since 2005.
He was also named to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Fabulous 22–a collection of the top football players in Western Pennsylvania.
McGhee is oozing with a jaw-dropping amount of potential at the position and it’s easy to see that one day he could be suiting up in the NFL.
He’s got an incredibly strong arm as well and he even launched a football 80 yards through the air about a week ago.
“What is a windy day out there?” I asked him.
“No, I was just feeling real good out there,” he replied.
“Goater” hopes he’s feeling good this fall as well where he’ll be ready to make an immediate splash as a freshman quarterback for Howard.
FinestPreps.com recently caught up with the gifted signal-caller to talk about his college football recruitment process, his football future at Howard, and many other topics.
Below is the interview.
FinestPreps.com Interview with Perry Traditional Academy QB Greg McGhee
FinestPreps.com: First off talk about what made you choose Howard University in the college football recruitment process.
Greg McGhee: “It definitely came down to the last two schools which were Howard and IUP. Me and my family sat down–we discussed these two schools, what I liked and what I didn’t like about both of the schools and at the end of the day Howard had the best opportunity for me after school. We felt that was the most important thing. Then we looked at the football side of things. I have a big chance of playing as a freshman, so that’s important also. Then just the education I’m getting while I’m down there is really crazy. I have family (Brandon Slade) that went to Howard. We actually talked to him also and he said it’s gonna be the best experience ever. I ended up going with Howard.”
FinestPreps.com: Greg you’ve got a funny nickname. I wanted to talk to you about that. Your nickname is “Goater”. Talk about how you got the nickname “Goater”.
Greg McGhee: “I’m not too sure about the story behind it but I’m just named after my father. I believe my grandma’s boyfriend gave it to my father when he was younger. Basically I’m just a junior so everything just got passed down.”
FinestPreps.com: Talk about football role models for you growing up, Greg.
Greg McGhee: “I just recently started having role models and people that influenced me that are older–football player wise. NFL–I look at Drew Brees, Michael Vick, all the small quarterbacks, like 6-foot-2 and under that don’t really get that much respect because of their height. Recently coming out of college it was Tyrod Taylor. They did this thing with him on ESPN–they followed him throughout this workout and everything, getting prepared for the NFL. He’s tremendous. He’s very, very good. He was so underrated this year. I believe it had something to do with his height and because some people might think of him as a scrambling quarterback before a passing quarterback. Ben (Roethlisberger) “Big Ben” is my favorite–I love playmakers. Everytime you see Ben he’s trying to make a play. I love that.”
FinestPreps.com: Talk to me about how Greg Perry has helped your development as a quarterback.
Greg McGhee: “He helped me a lot. He’s a great coach. I went to his camp this past year. The drills that he has you do and the information that he gives you is stuff that you’ll never think about doing as a quarterback but it helps you so much. I just stuck with the drills a lot more during the season and it actually paid off.”
FinestPreps.com: What kind of drills did he run you through Greg?
Greg McGhee: “A lot of footwork. He actually taught me that once you sit down and think about it as a quarterback, your feet are the main important thing. My football coach actually thinks in football you’re throwing with your feet more so than your arm. Footwork–he was working on footwork, moving in the pocket, just everything like that. It was a good experience and things I could use throughout the season.”
FinestPreps.com: I know you were a highly recruited player and a lot of people following your career had to have been pretty surprised that you didn’t go Division I-A. Are you going in with a chip on your shoulder at Howard and ready to prove a lot of people wrong?
Greg McGhee: “Yes sir. You could say that but at the same time I don’t pay any attention to the negative thoughts about the whole situation. That’s just me. I’m a competitor. I love to compete. That’s what I’m gonna have to do as a freshman to get any respect. That’s just what it’s gonna be for all the four years that I’m down at Howard. I just love to compete too.”
FinestPreps.com: What’s been the biggest thing you’ve improved on as a quarterback over the years, Greg?
Greg McGhee: “The biggest thing I could say is reading the defenses and knowing where I’m gonna throw the ball before I even throw it–the pre-snap read. Just throwing the ball also. My sophomore year when I first started (playing) quarterback I was just so raw and I was just out there. I felt as though my senior year–everything seemed so easy knowing where I was gonna go before I snapped the ball. I felt as though that was very, very important to me throughout the three years of my high school quarterback career.”
FinestPreps.com: What do you think is the most difficult part of the quarterback position, Greg?
Greg McGhee: The most difficult to me is being a leader–just keeping focused throughout the whole game during the ups and downs, keeping everyone calmed down in the huddle, everything like that. I think that’s the biggest thing a lot of quarterbacks have to have. It has to be mental with you more so than playing. I think it’s the mental side of things.”
FinestPreps.com: What are your thoughts of Mark Ingram being on the cover of NCAA Football, Greg?
Greg McGhee: “I’m not too big of a college gamer. I just like to play Call of Duty so I’m not even worried about it.”
FinestPreps.com: How long have you been playing the quarterback position for, Goater?
Greg McGhee: “I believe my first year was 2001. I was third string in little league. I had number 49 and my first ever snap I remember was a quarterback bootleg to the left hand side. I always asked my coach, ‘What was the reason you put me at quarterback?’ He said, ‘I don’t know. I just saw you throwing one day at practice and I just felt that your arm was very shocking to me and I just kept you there.’ Ever since then I’ve just been working hard at this position, taking it serious, and just making the most out of it I can.”
FinestPreps.com: When was the moment you learned you thought, ‘Hey I think I could have a future at this position.’?
Greg McGhee: “My sophomore year. I ended up coming to school my sophomore year and I came into my coaches room and he had a UCLA letter for me in a room. It was a handwritten letter. I was reading it and it was saying basically, ‘Hey Greg, we heard about you. We can’t offer you anything until September of your junior year, just keep working hard. We’ll keep watching you progress.’ After that letter, I just thought, ‘This is serious.’ I got into the weight room and I’ve just been working hard ever since.”
FinestPreps.com: What was your favorite moment of your high school football career?
Greg McGhee: “I had multiple and I think those were the games where we had to not prove ourself but show people that we’re just not average people from the city. When we went out of town and I felt as if we didn’t get any respect at all. No one gave us any respect so therefore we had to go out there and earn it. We won every game since my sophomore year that we went out of town except North Hills.”
FinestPreps.com: What do you think is the biggest thing for you as a football player headed into this fall at Howard, Goater?
Greg McGhee: “As a football player–hard work, compete, and just stay humble. Just keep working. I love to just work, work, work. I feel as though hard work pays off. That’s just what I go by so that’s just what it’s gonna be. I feel as though it will pay off at the end of the day so just keep working, keep competing.”
Wade Peery is the senior writer for FinestPreps.com. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments and feedback are welcome.
Check out the Steel City All-Star Highlight Tape of Greg McGhee below!
Check out his junior highlight tape at Perry Academy below!