April 28, 2008

Will Sunshine heat keep McGee in state?

It's never been easy to go into the Sunshine State and get the elite talent, but it's not impossible. Tennessee has done it before when it landed 5-star defensive back Demetrice Morley, and now the Vols find themselves back in South Florida recruiting athlete Brandon McGee.

"Right now, I don't really have any leaders," McGee said. "I'm taking my visits to a lot of the schools and checking to see what they have to offer. I hope to make a decision before my season starts. If I can't then, I won't do anything until December or January."

Florida's big three -- Florida, Florida State and Miami -- are in the mix along with Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, and Tennessee. All are programs rich in football tradition and there is some pressure to stay close to home and play for the nearby Hurricanes.

"My uncles pressure me a lot about it," McGee said. "Despite what they say they have told me they want me to do what is best for me and they will support me no matter what."

While feeling some heat to stay home and play, McGee admits that it's not a must to remain in Florida. Tennessee has made a solid dent thus far and he has known about the Volunteers program for a while.

"Tennessee is one of the standout schools," McGee said. "They will play freshman. I followed them last year and watched them with Eric Berry. I know a couple of guys from my area like Demetrice Morley and Vladimir Richard. That really opened up my eyes."

Another big reason for Tennessee's early success with McGee is his relationship with new running backs coach Stan Drayton.

"I have a great relationship with coach Drayton," McGee said. "I talk to the defensive backs coach (Larry) Slade and and coach (Phillip) Fulmer too.

"He (Drayton) is one of the people that I can trust. I could tell it the first time we ever talked. Whenever we talk it's not based on football. He wants to know about what is going on in my life. He cares about me as a person."

McGee has put on 17 pounds since the end of last football season. He's up to 187 pounds and says he'll need that extra weight for this fall.

"I actually was running track, but I stopped," McGee said. "I'm trying to learn corner, and I'm lifting weights every day during first period. My biggest advantage will be my physical play. I'm a big corner and I'm used to being hit so giving hits won't be a problem."

A high school quarterback, McGee could play a number of positions at the next level, but defensive back is where most schools are saying he'll play.

"I really want to play corner at the next level," McGee said. "This year will be my first year playing corner. I think the transition will be easy because I've played quarterback and I think I can read what the quarterback is doing. You have to have good footwork to play quarterback and I think I can break down the wideout's routes."

McGee hopes to make a trip to Knoxville this summer with his father.

Rivals.com rates McGee as a 4-star athlete and a member of the Rivals250 for the class of 2009.

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