McGee Ready For Fresh Start

New Orleans native Jeremy McGee is trying to put a rough fall behind him and prepare for his arrival at UCLA, while talking about his future with the Bruins.

New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr athlete Jeremy McGee (5-9, 175) has had as tumultuous a fall as any recruit in America.

McGee, who committed to UCLA during the summer, had little time to celebrate his future plans, having been displaced when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

With his home suffering water damage from the hurricane, McGee's parents were displaced to Texas, but not wanting their son to have to go too far for his senior year, McGee ended up at McKinley High in Baton Rouge.

"Everything is getting better. I'm back at Karr now, been back for a month. I played at McKinley but now I'm living with some friends on the West Bank. It was a tough time, but we're all o.k. My family is in Dallas with my sister. But they've talked about moving to L.A. when I go," said McGee.

His senior year was cut short due to the hurricane, but he still was able to play eight games this fall, putting up modest rushing numbers, despite also playing other positions.

"I played quarterback, running back, receiver, kick returner, punt returner and cornerback," said McGee. "I kind of did it all this year."

McGee rushed for 900 yards in eight games but said he only concentrated on running back for a few games.

"Since I'm going to UCLA as a running back, I wanted to play more running back this fall, but I just wanted to help the team," McGee said.

Initially, McGee was thought to be coming in as a cornerback, but he said that on his official visit, the coaches talked to him about playing some running back.

"They talked with me about returning kicks and about playing corner but said I would get a chance to run the ball," said McGee.

On his official trip, McGee was hosted by New Orleans native Chris Markey.

"Chris is just a great guy and someone who I feel like will help me when I'm at school. He's made the move and he's a great player. I know he's going to be the starter now," said Markey.

Though he was there on his official trip, Eric Bieniemy, who recruited McGee is no longer at UCLA, something McGee is taking in stride.

"I knew Coach Bieniemy a little bit longer than the rest but the rest of the coaches are solid. Coach (Dino) Babers is the running backs coach now so I met with him some. I also spent a lot of time with Coach (Karl) Dorrell on my visit. I love Coach Dorrell. He's a real down to earth, straight forward guy, someone you can talk to. He's a good man," McGee said.

McGee raved about the UCLA campus as well.

"It was great. I loved that campus. Man, I'm really excited to start school there and play football for a great program like UCLA. I can't wait to get on the field. I'm looking at playing right away, maybe get some carries," McGee said.

The familiarity that McGee has with the other New Orleans natives is something he said will benefit him when he arrives in Westwood.

"I talked with Chris Horton a lot too. Plus they've got Fred Holmes, Aaron Meyer and Chris Johnson. We've all been through a lot, and its cool that a school like UCLA has a lot of guys from New Orleans," said McGee.

McGee said several schools continued to recruit him and tried to call him but he turned them away.

"I didn't even open the letters or answer the phone. I'm not worrying about any other schools. I gave my word to UCLA," said McGee.

Now McGee will erase a long few months memories with a new one that he has been waiting for a long time to come.

"It's ironic; I just tried on my suit for the Signing Day ceremony. Everyone who's committed from our area gets together and signs their letters. Its something I've been looking forward to doing since I was a kid," said McGee.

McGee visited with several committed recruits and anticipates their impact when they arrive.

"We're ready. We've got nothing but motivation to push us to another level. We have a good group," said McGee.

Academically, McGee is fully qualified.

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