JACKSONVILLE – Evan McGhee has done enough of sitting back and learning from older players. He’s ready to thrive in his junior season at Bolles as a full-time starter.
The 6’0″, 220-pounder contributed 15 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery at linebacker a year ago, but now he’s lining up all over the defense at defensive line, linebacker and safety.
He’s the younger brother of Trenton McGhee, a 2014 Bolles graduate and four-year starter who is now playing college baseball at St. Pete College. Trenton was a part of the Bulldogs’ last state title team in 2011.
“My freshman year was really big to go to states,” Evan McGhee told Prep Sports Scouting. “To go with my brother was a really big thing. It helped to get the intensity of what an actual state championship is. I dressed for the game but didn’t play.”
Last season, the Bulldogs went 9-3 and advanced to the Class 4A region final against eventual state runner-up Raines. Prior to last season, Bolles appeared in back-to-back state title games. The program is tops in the state with 11 titles all-time.
“Last year, I thought we were going to go, but we fell short,” he said. “I learned a lot. I learned patience because I didn’t get the reps I really wanted with a bunch of seniors in front of me.”
Fast forward to this season and a now more seasoned and crafty McGhee is expecting a stellar performance from his group.
“We are tired of it and everyone is hungry,” he said. “We have a chip on our shoulders and we want to go out there and get it.”
McGhee opens up games with his hand in the dirt as a defensive end. He says playing different positions has increased his value and knowledge of the game.
He started playing both baseball and football at age 4. It was all about quarterback and running back for McGhee until he arrived at Bolles where he moved to defense. He played both third base and outfield for Bolles as a freshman but took last season off and is debating whether or not to play as a junior.
“Baseball definitely helps because you develop hand-eye coordination,” he said. “Transitioning to football that has helped with my catching which is above average now.”
When it comes to competition, McGhee is surrounded by that each and every day in practice. Bolles features plenty of highly skilled athletes including seniors, Alabama commit quarterback Mac Jones and running back/safety Ahman Ross.
“It’s exciting, even though I can’t hit Mac in practice,” he said. “Ahman has really helped me with recruiting and take me he under his wing on defense.”
McGhee says he discovered his confidence in eighth grade while playing as a running back.
“I played running back then and it was a fun year. I gained a lot of confidence,” he said. “There were coaches telling me then that I could play college football.”
He thoroughly enjoys playing for head coach Corky Rogers. The long-time coach is looking for state title No. 11 at Bolles.
“He [Rogers] helps me on the field and off the field as well,” McGhee said. “The one-on-one talks that we’ve had it shows that he’s actually watching. Those talks boost you.”
McGhee pointed to his ability to read offense, his strength and his quick hands as his best attributes on the field. His bench press max is currently at 335 lbs. He’s always aiming to be a better all-around player.
Currently, McGhee has no offers yet, but he has drawn interest from UCF, Georgia, Miami and Georgia Southern.
When asking him if he’d rather play baseball or football at the next level, he responded with this, “that’s the hardest question I’ve ever been asked.”
“I’m good in both of them I think,” McGhee said. “I really want to try to play both, but if I can’t I’ll definitely go with football.”
His ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL and win a ring, but earning a scholarship is on his mind, something he says that would be a blessing.
When it comes to pure passion for sports and overall enthusiasm, McGhee is packed with that. He is a bright kid who wants to learn whenever he earns a chance.
As a full-time starter, Evan McGhee is set up to thrive in his junior at Bolles. The Bulldogs are among the top teams in 4A every year under coach Rogers. McGhee is a key part of this team and more eyes will be on him as the season progresses and he makes plays.
Favorite players to watch – Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander, Broncos LB Von Miller and Rams DT Aaron Donald
Playlist before games – Kodak Black, 21 Savage, Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Meek Mill, Drake and Chance the Rapper
Favorite movies – Remember The Titans, Woodlawn and Django Unchained
Favorite TV shows – ESPN, Hard Knocks, MTV, Wild ‘N Out and Disney XD
Nickname from your teammates or friends – “Ghee” and “Lunchbox”
Fun fact about you that no one knows – “I’m a pretty good drawer. I can rap and sing and draw. I draw anime characters or scenery.”
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Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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