Introducing the 2005 Class: Chris McGaha

When looking at the biographies of ASU's 2005 recruiting class, there is one in particular that is by far the longest than the rest - local wide receiver Chris McGaha. The list of honors is endless and his career stats are gaudy to say the least. Nevertheless, while various media outlets have been busy handing out accolades to the Moon Valley standout, the Sun Devils' incoming freshman was concerned with other matters during his sensational senior season with the Rockets.

"I never think about my success," said the 6-1 190 Chris McGaha. "I didn't know we were undefeated until late in the season. I wasn't worried about that – I was just worried about winning games. In my last game if I had two more touchdowns and two more receptions, I was gonna break the state record in touchdowns and receptions. I didn't know I was that close to the mark, and obviously my coach didn't know or he would have thrown the ball at me more (smile)." Despite missing that record, McGaha had an outstanding outing amassing seven catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns, along with an interception. His performance was the catalyst for a second-half comeback victory that captured the championship.

As humble as his demeanor may be, this is not to say that he doesn't cherish his last high school season in which Moon Valley was crowned the best in the 4A class. "It was really cool leaving high school as a champion," stated the 2004 Arizona Republic's Big School Player of the Year. "It couldn't have ended any better. If I didn't win a championship I would feel like something was missing from my career. When you think about it, only one team was going to win their last game of the year. That's real special."

McGaha, who was also part of the Old Spice Red Zone Top 50 National Players of the Year, as well as the Arizona Red Zone Player of the Year in USA Today, knows that both God-given talent and strong work ethic has helped him achieve the success he enjoyed thus far. "I'm not gonna say that I'm that good that I just show up to practice and not work hard," he explained. "There's definitely a lot of hard work that goes into it. Going into my junior year, I felt that football wasn't hard for me anymore - I understood the game really well. But in my junior year I just went out there and played. In my senior year I really prepared from Monday to Friday. I was more mentally mature."

The Moon Valley receiver was already an all-state player during his junior season, which naturally had the state's universities knocking on his door. He mentioned that Arizona State offered a scholarship shortly after archrival Arizona did. Players that are recruited by both schools, usually get to experience their tense contention during the recruiting process. However, McGaha said that his experience was different in that regard.

"I didn't feel the rivalry during recruiting," he claimed. "But I know how big this rivalry is. It's one of the biggest in college football. Most of my family and friends were ASU fans anyway, so I never felt any pressure from anybody to go to U of A. But I also never had anyone persuade me to go to ASU." He added that he was never big into college football prior to his junior year, and thus didn't necessarily follow his hometown school closely while he was growing up in the Valley of the Sun.

Aside from the two Arizona schools, San Diego State and Boise State recruited him in earnest, which in return had the wide receiver pay them a visit. "Compared to ASU, I didn't feel like San Diego was going in the right direction," he remarked. "Boise is obviously a good program, but they were small and don't play in a conference like the Pac-10 where you can win a national championship. I wanted to play at the highest level possible."

McGaha took his time with his decision, which didn't sit well with one school. "U of A made it sound like they weren't gonna wait for me because they didn't know how many scholarships they were gonna have," he recalled. "That made my decision easier because now it was between three schools and not four. A lot of people said that I waited so long because of publicity. But I wanted to make sure that I made the right decision. I told everyone that I was gonna take all my visits before I decide. I guess it just worked out the way it worked out. I'm very happy with my decision."

Current ASU tight end Andrew Pettes has been close to McGaha for a few years now. Surprisingly, the former Moon valley star didn't heavily recruit his former teammate. "He (Pettes) wasn't that much a factor in my decision," McGaha said. "When I was a sophomore we said we were gonna go to the same school, but I never knew if that really was gonna happen. When I visited the school he didn't seem like he was trying to push me very hard. He wasn't a big deciding factor, but it's cool to be on the same team with him again."

Playing with Pettes on offense may seem like old times, but overall McGaha knows that he's in for a new experience. "It's a drastic change from high school to college," he commented. "Everybody is a good player coming from a good program. It's gonna be more of a mental challenge than anything else, knowing where you fit in and stuff like that. Physically I know I compare very well to the other wide receivers, but they have the experience."

Last season McGaha led the state in receiving with 82 receptions for 1,593 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also collected 278 yards rushing on 15 carries and collected 1,089 yards in returns. Over his career, he registered 5,912 total yards and scored 55 touchdowns. "My strongest skill is when I get the ball I usually score (laughs)," he said when describing his attributes. "I have very good hands and vision. I have good speed - I ran a 4.39 on grass. I need to get stronger and gain weight and keep it on. I'm 190 now, and I want to get to 195."

McGaha doesn't know what are his chances are of playing right away or redshirting ("We have to wait until camp is over. That's when these things get settled."). He does however know that he'll be happy to play in the venue where he played his last game in high school, and walked out of the field as a champion. "Oh yeah, I love playing at Sun Devil stadium. I have a lot of good memories from there."

And more remarkable memories are hopefully soon to follow…

Recruit Profile

Name

Chris McGaha

High School

Moon Valley (Phoenix, Ariz.)

Position

WR

Height

6-1

Weight

190

Date of birth

10/21/86

Birthplace

Phoenix, Ariz.

Nickname

"White Magic"

Favorite TV show

"Anything on ESPN"

Favorite movie

"The Nutty Professor II"

Favorite singer/band

"Mario"

Favorite food

"Mexican"

Favorite drink

"Water"

Favorite athlete

"Deion Sanders"

Favorite pro team

"Phoenix Suns"

Person you most admire

"My parents. They made me into to whom I am today."

First football memory

"My first Pop Warner game. I was 12, and when I scored my dad was sitting right behind the end zone. He was in the perfect place to see me score my first touchdown."

Why did you choose ASU?

"I liked the school and it's in my hometown."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"In the NFL. If that doesn't work out I'd like to run my own business."

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