Kaleb McGary Unplugged

It's always fun to talk to Kaleb McGary, because what you see is what you get. And when you are 6-foot-8 and 275 pounds, you can be guaranteed McGary's opinions are going to be bigger than life too. Dawgman.com spoke to the Fife star who took on all topics - football, basketball, top plays, recruiting, hat dances, and more!

"It was disappointing," McGary said when asked about how his football season went for the Trojans. "We had all the size, all the talent, all the skill to go as far as we wanted to, and we didn't. There were things that weren't there that had to be that were out of our control. It's really disappointing to know that, to not be able to get somewhere, is disheartening and it leaves a bitter taste every time I think about it. It feels like my senior season was wasted, was that it was less than what it could have, or should have been."

He recount a couple of top plays during the season when asked. "My first reception of the year against White River," he said. "They finally threw me the ball…I caught it, turned around and went about 10-15 yards taking just about the entire White River defense with me.

"The one I remember most vividly though, was probably a play against Steilacoom. It was the first quarter, we were down, and we needed a spark to get us going. It was kind of a last-ditch effort. Coach lines me up on the right side, sends me on a crossing route right behind the d-linemen. I catch it and I take it 60 yards…I broke four or five tackles. One of their really fast guys catches up to me and took my legs out, but not before I made it very apparent that I wanted six points."

How did McGary get better as a college prospect? "I feel like I got faster, a little quicker," he said. "It wasn't a big year for me, I didn't get thrown to a lot. It was kind of disheartening. I didn't get used much, and the times I didn't get that many yards - I think I averaged 15 yards per carry. I feel like I could have done more but that didn't get used very much."

When he looks in the mirror, McGary isn't sure if he sees an offensive player or a defensive player. "I don't really know, for a couple reasons," he said. "I'm not super-fast but I move really well for a big guy. I can catch; I have pretty good hands. Our offensive line coach thinks I have good hands for a big guy. I run a 4.75 40, so I think I have enough speed to play the position, in my opinion.

"But I'm tall and long, and that makes for a good d-end. I play defensive end pretty well, especially getting double-teamed. As a tackle I move my feet very well. I have long arms and reach. I move my feet and I'm heavy, so that makes for a good tackle.

"So when I look in the mirror I kind of see a multi-tool, if you will - someone who has a piece to every puzzle a big guy can play without all the pieces to any one."

Now it's on to basketball. McGary said he's doing his best get his football frustrations out on the court. "Basketball is a little more of a delicate sport, a little more personal," he said. "It's nice to be able to play a sport that's not quite as dependent on team. Obviously you can't win if you don't work together, but one or two guys can make a lot bigger difference than in football."

Talk turned to recruiting. Just when McGary was getting comfortable with his top choices in the fall, the post-season coaching carousel turned everything on its head.

"This year it was pretty unnerving because two of my top picks - U-Dub and Boise State - kind of flopped around and things interchanged," he said. "There was a while there when there was a lot of questions. I think it's worked out well. There's a lot that remains to be seen.

"I have not heard a single bad word about (Chris) Petersen and his staff, from all kinds of different coaches. I have never heard a single bad sentence about him or any of his staff."

So was he more surprised with Steve Sarkisian's move to USC, or Petersen's move to Seattle? McGary said he was more surprised by Sark's switch, but not necessarily because Kaleb didn't think Sark would bolt. It was more personal than that.

"I asked (Sark) directly if he was interested (in USC) and he said no," McGary said. "It surprised me that he lied to me like that. It's not anything I'd hold against him. Let's look at the real world…if you have a chance to better your situation and your family's situation, I don't hold that against him. But I don't see any reason to lie about it or to not be upfront and honest. That's all I ask, is that you be honest with me. I won't play any tricks if you won't."

With official visits already taken to Oregon State and Washington State, McGary packs his bags for Wisconsin this weekend, Washington next weekend, and then Arizona State the final weekend before signing day.

"They are still in the mix," McGary said of Oregon State and Washington State. "I enjoyed both visits thoroughly. They are both beautiful places. I like the people and I like the scenery. I love both places, absolutely adore both places and I love both the coaching staffs."

What about the new UW coaching staff and Chris Petersen? "I've talked to (Petersen) a little," McGary said. "I finally got to meet coach Pete and he seems like a very good guy. I have no doubt that everything said about him is true. I haven't gotten to meet any of his staff yet, so I won't really pass judgment or comment on them because I haven't gotten to meet them face-to-face. I have gotten to talk with coach K (Pete Kwiatkowski) and Jeff Choate. They seem like pretty good guys, but I haven't met them so I don't have an official opinion yet."

After his final trip to ASU, that's when things will get serious for McGary. "I will probably wait a week, half a week, talk to my family a lot, think it over, and then I'll decide before signing day to give the colleges that I don't pick some time to get someone else at the end," he said. "I don't want anyone not getting something. Granted, this is a business and someone has gotta lose in some way, but if it doesn't need to be it doesn't need to be. I'll try and pick as early as I can."

And how will he make his final choice known? "Initially I wanted to pick up a hat, you know," said McGary. "I wanted the experience, I wanted to see what it was like. It would be neat, but in the end you're just on TV for a couple of seconds and there's a coach there that isn't going to win, isn't going to get what he wants. It's like embarrassing a coach, and there's no need for it."

There's a thought out there that instead of hats, McGary should pick a trademark cowboy hat instead. Kaleb sounded intrigued by that. "It would be unique," he said. "I'm not quite sure anyone has done anything like that."

Any final thoughts from McGary? He said that one of the old Washington coaches used to joke with him and call him a 'retired hillbilly' because he doesn't live on a hill anymore. If anyone knows Kaleb and has gotten a chance to talk to him, you know he loves his time with nature.

"I miss my mountain side," he said with a chuckle. "I miss the trees. There's an awful lot of concrete here, man!"

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