Rico McGraw Wants to Make it on the Field

ATHENS - Like all freshmen, Rico McGraw is working to earn a role on Georgia’s football team.

If the defensive back can do that, he could find himself playing early in his college career in his hometown of Nashville where he starred at The Ensworth School.

“That’s kind of marked on my calendar,” McGraw said of Georgia’s SEC opener comes in week two on Sept. 12 at Vanderbilt. “A lot of people hit my phone saying they’ll hopefully see me out there. I’m hoping I’m able to be on the field that day.”

The Bulldogs completed their 11th preseason practice on Thursday.

McGraw is trying to show defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, his position coach, that he will bring it on the practice field no matter the heat or how tired he may be.

“One thing coach Pruitt teaches is maturity as a freshman,” McGraw said. “That’s one thing that differentiates a lot of freshmen that are playing in their first year. So I’ve really been focused on going out there every day, doing my best and just maturing every day.”

The 6-foot, 192-pound McGraw said he’s gotten some first team work at the star position in Georgia’s nickel package where Leonard Floyd and Reggie Wilkerson also play. McGraw is also getting some cornerback reps. He said assistant coach Mike Ekeler has pushed for McGraw to play on several special teams units.

He was committed to Alabama until the last week of January before making a signing day announcement for Georgia. McGraw said he kept up with Georgia before Pruitt arrived, but that former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and secondary coach Scott Lakatos never offered him a scholarship.

He got that Georgia offer after Pruitt arrived.

“Coach Pruitt was the first person to ever offer me while he was at Alabama,” McGraw said of the former Alabama secondary coach who saw McGraw after his freshman season at a 7-on-7 camp in Tuscaloosa. “When he made the transition to Florida State, he offered me there. I always wanted to play for coach Pruitt. …One day I finally decided to follow my heart, and I ended up here with coach Pruitt.”

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