McGee settling into the program

The thought of leaving started to cross McGee's mind late in spring practice at Virginia. He knew the post-grad transfer rule was out there for any athletes with an undergraduate degree. After talking it over with his family, they decided it would be best for McGee to move on to a new program for his final year of eligibility. He's now becoming accustomed to life in Gainesville with a new team.

His comfort level started to increase before McGee even enrolled in classes. When he took a visit to Florida before making his decision, the tight end spent time that weekend with Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel. Since moving to Gainesville, McGee moved in with Driskel, punter Kyle Christy and offensive lineman Trip Thurman.

"It's been a whirlwind," Jake McGee said. "It was a quick transition. I got down there and started class right away. The guys have been great, living with some guys off-campus and everybody has been awesome and relationships are starting to build. I really couldn't ask for anything more."

The senior tight end joked that his roommates have helped him avoid getting lost around Gainesville, but they've also been a big help on the football field. The early part of player-run practices have helped McGee grasp an understanding of what the Gators are doing offensively under first-year coordinator Kurt Roper.

The offensive scheme played a major role in McGee's decision to transfer to Florida.

Roper recruited McGee to Duke out of high school, but after deciding to sign with Virginia, McGee spent four years watching the Duke offense exploded. He was drawn to Roper's ability to use the tight ends in his offense, and once he made the decision to leave Virginia, Florida jumped to the top of his list of schools to attend.

"My strength is my pass-catching ability," McGee said. "I'm just trying to become a well-rounded player where I can do pass-catching and blocking."

Other schools were in the mix, but when McGee was in contact with the Florida staff, the decision seemed like an easy one. It was a different process from when he was a high school recruit, and that made the process a lot quicker.

"The process for me at this point at this point in my career is a little different," McGee said. "It was more finding the right academic fit whereas the right football fit. You want it to be a good campus life, a fun campus, but the priorities were finding a great school with a great athletic program to sort of fit into.

"When the schools came in, Florida was the one I liked the most. With their summer classes starting so soon, it wasn't really – being older, the visit aspect wasn't as big to me. I took one down here because it was the school I wanted to go to the most. If I had a few more weeks, I would've gone some other places. At this stage, I didn't need to go see 4-5 different campuses and lead anyone on just to do it."

Standing at 6-6, McGee estimated his weight is up to 245-250 pounds. It didn't used to be that way. He showed up on campus at Virginia weighing 200 pounds. McGee played high school football at Collegiate School in Virginia and actually took over for Russell Wilson, the current quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks.

McGee was a freshman when Wilson was a senior, and after Wilson left for North Carolina State, McGee took over as the team's quarterback. The two also spent time together on the varsity baseball and basketball teams when McGee was a freshman.

"He's a good friend of mine," McGee said. "I don't talk to him a ton because he's out west and he's a pretty busy guy, but when he comes back and works, when he has his camps in the summer and stuff, I usually work them every summer and get to see him, catch up."

Instead of transferring, McGee could've simply forfeited his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft. He sent in paperwork to the NFL to see what his draft stock looked like and was told he would be a mid-round selection. That wasn't enough to give up the last year of eligibility and the chance at going to grad school.

When McGee looked at Florida, he was drawn to the recreation and sports management program. While giving up his time to volunteer and spend time with children, it was always something that drew his interest.

"It's an opportunity to work with kids in community service," McGee said. "It's something I've done a lot through college and some through high school. It's a path that, say football works out well, I can give back to kids. If football doesn't go anywhere, you can fit right in."

His time this summer will be spent watching film and working with his teammates on the practice field. The rest of the Florida players had the spring to get their first view of the new offense. McGee only has the summer and fall camp to learn the plays and offense before being thrown onto the field during the fall.

He also has plenty of time to get in Driskel's ear about getting him the ball.

"I'll let him know if I have some extra food, I'll pass it to him before anybody else," McGee joked. "If he needs a ride, I won't know where I'm going, but I'll take him where he needs to go."

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