McGee Can Add Depth, Speed to RBs

Longview RB Vondrell McGee has been a workhorse during the off-season, and that means the freshman could be a racehorse in Texas' stable of running backs this season.

Vondrell McGee trains approximately four times per week just to get into tip-top shape for this fall, he told Inside Texas. Specifically, McGee has added 12 pounds of lean muscle to his 5-10 frame and now tips at scales at 200. He has also shaved nearly-tenths of a second of his 40 this year and currently runs a 4.35. (Imagine a fire hydrant shot out of a cannon and you've got McGee).

Cut in the mold of a Priest Holmes, Clinton Portis or a LaDainian Tomlinson, McGee speculated earlier this year that a redshirt might be a real possibility for him considering Texas' depth at running back. Now, the unresolved situation surrounding junior RB Ramonce Taylor may have opened a window of opportunity for McGee to contribute early. At the same time, senior RB Selvin Young has not proven durable the past two seasons.

"(Coaches) haven't told me if I'm going to redshirt or if I'm going to play this year," McGee said. "They just told me to come down with the attitude that I'm going to play and then see what happens."

McGee talks to RB coach Ken Rucker "at least two or three times a week," and it's usually the freshman who initiates the contact. His self-motivation has long since translated to the track and weight room. Just like all other incoming Longhorn freshman, McGee has received the team's workout manual suggesting an off-season strength-and-conditioning regiment. But the instruction guide wasn't necessary -- at least not for him.

"I'd been doing all those things for a while," he said. "Coach Rucker just told me to keep running and keep lifting."

He also completed another track and field season in which he ran the 100-meter and sprint relays.

McGee may be the most soft-spoken of all incoming freshman; he won't say two sentences if one will do. But he is an intense, focused and remarkably mature young man who prefers to do most of his talking on the field. McGee rushed for 3,400 yards and 44 TDs during his final two seasons and was a two-time all-state selection. He averaged 8.3 ypc as a senior (1,361 yards on 163 totes) to help Longview to a 10-1 record.

Longview typically operated out of the I-formation during his tenure, but the program incorporated an option game out of the shotgun during his senior year. His 27 TDs during his junior season set a new Longview record. McGee relishes the thought of being part of the return game at Texas. During his 10-1 senior campaign, he totaled 274 yards on five kickoff returns

He has received the offensive play book and, much like the reaction of most incoming Longhorn freshman, it was extensive enough to make his head spin.

"I've got a lot to learn," he said. ""Our playbook is bigger than the phone book."

Of course, McGee is referencing the Longview phone book while many of his predecessors have likened the catalogue of plays to the Houston directory. That's why McGee reports that his biggest area for improvement, between now and August camp, is "learning the plays. The biggest problem, for me, is learning all the blocking assignments."

McGee intends to arrive in time to take three hours of coursework when the first UT summer session begins on June 2. He'll take another three hours during the second semester and, of course, participate in voluntary summer workouts. He is not sure what the format will entail ("I just know I'm going to practice with the team") but he has been in regular contact with future teammates, especially five-Star linebacker Sergio Kindle.

"I mainly talk to Sergio because he's a freshman, like me, who's already there," McGee said. "He mainly said get ready to run. He said there's a lot of running."

Oklahoma offered a full-ride; McGee also visited Texas A&M and TCU before giving Texas his verbal on March 22, 2005.

Can McGee emerge as the most exciting Longhorn to hail from Longview since legendary QB James Street? Let's not put the cart before the racehorse. For now...

"I'm just real anxious get to Austin, meet new people and get started on that part of my life," McGee concluded.

'Nuff said...

Horns Digest Top Stories