Up Close: Josh McKie

MAULDIN, S.C. --- Butch Davis and his staff tend to focus less on high school positions and more on athleticism and versatility, with the thinking being that a skilled high-level athlete can play a variety of positions. Junior Josh McKie, a UNC commitment, fits into that mold.

"He's an exceptional athlete and with the offense that we run we utilize him as a quarterback and a running back," Mauldin head football coach Doug Shaw said. "He can get outside, he can run inside. We do have some receivers that can catch the ball fairly well, too."

Mauldin runs a Rich Rodriguez-style spread option offense that incorporates a touch of the double-wing option offense that nearby Wofford runs.

As a sophomore, McKie played slot receiver. Graduation forced Shaw to move the 6-foot, 175-pounder to quarterback heading into his junior season.

"When our quarterback graduated we started thinking ‘What if you add Josh's speed to the quarterback position,'" Shaw said. "Our previous quarterback didn't have the speed; he was more of a drop back kind of guy.

"Josh is one where if it's not there, you have confidence that he can get some yards for you if he has to pull it down and run. [The offense] gets the ball in his hands. He has to make the decisions. He's learning on the run – he's made some good [decisions], he's made some bad ones."

McKie, who also often returns kickoffs for Mauldin, isn't just a running threat.

"He has a good arm – he's not just a runner," Shaw said. "He can throw the ball very well and throws a good deep pass."

McKie ended his junior season with 700 yards on the ground and 1,300 through the air.

UNC is recruiting McKie as a wide receiver.

"My brother played receiver and my dad played receiver, so it runs in the family and it kind of came natural to me," McKie said.

His brother, Ryan, recently graduated from Furman, and his father, James, played wide out for South Carolina.

McKie will be one of three wide receivers the Tar Heels bring into the program in the fall of 2009, along with Joshua Adams and Ray Ray Davis.

"They said there will be three receivers leaving next year, so they said they're bringing us in to basically fill in their voids," McKie said.

Last summer, McKie attended UNC's three-day camp in June, where he was extended a verbal scholarship offer.

"They liked my work ethic," McKie said. "They said they can see me being a big time player for them."

McKie returned to Chapel Hill approximately a month later to participate in UNC's team camp as an individual. He also camped at South Carolina.

It turned out that his experiences over the summer had an indirect affect on the decision to pledge to UNC.

"At South Carolina's camp they talked to me a lot and I talked to Coach [Steve] Spurrier, a lot – we were chatting," McKie said. "And then I went up to the junior day, it was like he didn't even remember me from the camp.

"So then I went back up to North Carolina [for their junior day]. I had been talking to the coaches, a lot. We watched some film. [Charlie Williams] was calling out first names, talking to me, and all the coaches knew me. It was like a family thing."

In early December, McKie verbally committed to Williams over the phone. He made the commitment official during UNC's Junior Day when he pledged to Butch Davis.

"It was the whole experience," McKie said. "The campus was beautiful and the education I'm going to get was also important."

In addition to UNC and South Carolina, McKie was fielding interest from Auburn, Clemson, Maryland, and NC State.

"He's beginning to get more and more and more stuff," Shaw said. "His name is obviously getting out there."

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