Seven McGee has dreamed of playing for the Ducks for much of his childhood. We often hear of players receiving a scholarship offer or committing to the Ducks and calling Oregon a dream school. But few players embody that dream like McGee, a 5-foot-9, 181 pound running back from Rochester, New York.
After growing up watching Chip Kelly's high-powered, electric offenses put up points in a hurry, he knew he had a future in Eugene. Even when no one else believed him.
That dream led to a shockingly early commitment the likes of which the Oregon staff typically doesn't see. A member of the historic 2021 recruiting class Mario Cristobal and his staff wrapped up in February, McGee initially committed to the Ducks all the way back in April 2018.
Fast forward three years, and he's finally in Eugene, learning under the tutelage of Jim Mastro, and rocking the green and yellow threads.
"It's a blessing. It's a blessing for me, it's a blessing for my family. Just to be able to come to college and be able to be around Coach Cristobal and this great team," McGee said during fall camp. "It's wild. I've been waiting three to four years."
What led to him identifying his dream school at such a young age? It all started with some of the most electric playmakers in the program's history.
"If I'm being real, De'Anthony Thomas and Marcus Mariota, at a young age seeing them play in 2015 against Florida State, making it to the national championship, coming up short--it was big for me in just wanting to bring the culture and just recreate what they came up short (of)," McGee said.
Going through fall camp with a veteran group, he sees some similarities between his game and that of Travis Dye, a do-it-all, Swiss army knife type of weapon for the offense last year. The two have similar frames (5-9, 181 vs. 5-10, 190), a quickness in changing direction, and their ability to wiggle through and around opposing defenders."
He may be new to the college level, but his teammates wasted no time in helping him get acclimated. Just last weekend, linebacker Justin Flowe delivered a "welcome to college" hit at McGee's expense when he stepped up in pass protection during the team's first scrimmage of fall camp.
However, his maturity is already adjusted to that of a player that's been in college for years, as he was able to put a positive spin on the crushing hit.
"It was just a wake up point for me. I'm glad he did it, because it just shows what the team brings. Everybody competes at a high level," he said. "Everyone is a warden or a top dog when they're in high school--when you get to college it's like whoa. You want your teammates to come at you and just bring it to the table, offense and defense-wise."
Any back not named Verdell or Dye is involved in a tightly-contested battle for the team's No. 3 spot, but McGee has been getting occasional run with the ones and twos. Even so, he's been taking everything in stride, trying to learn from the older players.
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The chemistry is already strong with this group. They all keep each other in check, which for McGee, has been a central pillar in the unit's improvement.
One of the best all-around playmakers in high school last year, he enjoys being able to wear multiple hats for his team and carry out a variety of jobs in the backfield.
"It's a lot of different schemes we have here. I just think it's awesome for us to be able to get out the backfield, catch a couple of balls, also block for our quarterback so the quarterback know we got his back--and just be there as a center hold for the team," McGee said.
A lot has been said of his versatility, and with that comes a lot of intrigue with moving him around the offense. For now through, he's focused on learning the running back role and hoping for some work in the slot in the future.
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