Things becoming clearer for McGaha

The career of wide receiver Chris McGaha has been defined by his sure hands and his acrobatic catches. Thus, hard to believe that such a player was achieving all these feats with less than perfect vision. Not only did his flawed eyesight not impact him while donning the maroon and gold, it also didn't hold him back from showing well in the NFL combine.

Outgoing senior Chris McGaha was diagnosed with 20/60 vision during his physical exam at the combine. Six days after arriving home from that event he underwent Lasik surgery to correct his vision.

"It's weird…you sleep for about 12 hours after the procedure and when I woke up I was able to see," said McGaha. "I figured I was driving illegally for all these years because I can see so much better now when I drive. Good thing I'm from Arizona and I knew my way around for all that time I was driving with bad vision."

The wide receiver always knew that his eyesight was imperfect, but did admit that the results of that exam did take him by surprise.

"When I had other eye exams I was told I had 20/40 or something like that," admitted McGaha, "and that was probably me squinting and cheating and getting by. I obviously couldn't do the same thing at the combine. Funny thing is that aside from my vision everything on my physical went at the combine great and I just breezed through all those tests. Some players weren't that lucky."

The wide receiver said that going into his junior year he tried to wear contact lenses, and while he noticed a marked improvement in his vision, he didn't feel that it was practical wearing them on the field.

"When I play my eyes get dry and I also have allergies," he explained. "So it made wearing contacts very hard. I would run a route or catch a ball and they would pop out. I tried wearing them every day for three months, then I tried wearing them just for football, and I just figured it would be easier just not wearing them at all.

"I thought that way my eyes would get used to just not seeing everything perfectly."

Luckily for McGaha, his other combine results were in sharp contrast to his vision test.

He posted the second highest total of bench reps (19) for all the 44 wide receivers invited, had the 3rd best vertical jump at 40 inches (only nine participants regardless of position jumped higher than him) and the 6th best broad jump at 10-2.

"I think I did what I needed to do at the combine and that is to show everyone my athleticism," claimed McGaha. "I strained my hamstring a few weeks ago right before the Senior Bowl and I wish I was able to run the 40 just so I could get that monkey off my back and show people that I'm not as slow as some think I am. But I will have my chance to run in Pro Day.

"When I run the 40 I expect to run in the low 4.4's. That's how fast I usually run it. If I got anything higher than that I would be pretty disappointed."

McGaha realizes that fairly or not he has been usually labeled as a possession receiver, and knows that this is more of a function of his role at ASU rather than a reflection of his entire array of abilities. When talking to the various teams at the combine ("everyone put on their poker face. I can't tell which ones like me more than the others."), he did come away with a sense that he's been respected for his versatility.

"The teams that I talked to told me that they could see me playing slot or outside receiver," commented McGaha. "There was never a label (among NFL teams) on me that I can only play one position. In the NFL you have to play a lot of different positions so you can get on the field as much as possible."

McGaha was seldom used as a returner, or a special team player, during his Sun Devil tenure. However, he feels confident that can effectively execute any special teams role asked of him, an aspect that he knows will be crucial for his longevity in the league.

"Whatever spot I'll be good at on special teams," noted McGaha, "that's where the team will put me at. I know I can fulfill any role."

McGaha is unsure of his draft projection, but hopes that his display in the combine, as well as his performance on Pro Day (March 26th) will assure his of being selected in the middle rounds. "Of course I want to be selected as high as possible," he said. "But you never know what will happen in the draft. I hope I opened some eyes with my athleticism and get selected by a team that will be a good fit for me."

During his time in Tempe McGaha one of the most prolific wideouts in Arizona State history. He collected 168 career receptions for 2,242 yards (13.3 avg.) and nine receiving touchdowns. He ranks third all-time in career receptions in ASU history, behind only Derek Hagan (258) and John Jefferson (188), and seventh all-time in career receiving yards.

He was a top target on third downs, as 72 percent of his receptions during the 2007 season went for first downs. He is one of six Sun Devils in history to record both 150 career receptions and 2,000 career receiving yards. He played in all 50 games over the last four seasons, making 42 consecutive starts to end his career.

"As far as my career at ASU, I feel I did what I needed to do," stated McGaha. "I did everything I could to help my team win and be the best at what I did. I think I always showed my competitiveness and hopefully I showed overall that I can help my team and also play at the next level."

In the last four years it was a common sight to witness McGaha make the impossible catch and some of those receptions are bound to be on Sun Devil highlight films for years to come. Nonetheless, the wide receiver humbly said that he can only hope that he is remembered for those achievements.

"Somebody else may come and out do me," remarked McGaha. "There is always good talent coming in."

McGaha doesn't like to dwell on the pass, for good or for bad, but he does feel that the most memorable moment in his ASU career would be the entire 2007 season.

"We were co-Pac 10 champions that year and even though we didn't get a lot of love for that," said McGaha. "I don't think a lot people knew how hard it was to have such a good season in a conference like the Pac-10 where everybody beats up on each other.

"I wish I had more than one touchdown that year but I helped other players make it into the end zone. I still feel I was a major contributor that year."

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