Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Casey McGahee looks to fall opener

It’s no secret that FAU Football walk-ons have gone on to contribute powerfully to the program. Chris Laskowski, a first year walk-on, just signed to the Indianapolis Colts. Laskowski was also a perennial MVP for FAU. So I, the Pumper, decided to talk to the next little big shot – the guy who doesn’t get all the hype, but got all his game.

After spring season, it is apparent that Junior Casey McGahee, a Social Science major, has got the skills to become a key player come the Fall 2005 opener. McGahee walked on as a freshman and made the team but, was red-shirted. Then as a sophomore, McGahee contributed as a punt/kick-off return man with 12 returns for 187 yards.

At the final spring scrimmage, McGahee caught two passes for 19 yards and one touchdown. I sat down with McGahee in the beautiful Oxley Center sports office lobby and was quite impressed with his poise and confidence. He was full of valuable insight and had a bunch of great stories. The following is our question/answer session:

Pump: Talk about when you walked on in 2002?McGahee: Well, there was a lot of older guys. I moved from wide receiver to defensive back. I had guys like Roosevelt Bynes (former FAU wide receiver currently trying out at Dolphins mini-camp) and others ahead of me. I had talent but no technique and got red-shirted.

Pump: For those that don’t know, what do red-shirted players do?McGahee: Basically everything the other players do except you don’t travel to away games. You dress for home games. A lot of weight lifting and training. You have to take the year to prepare yourself both mentally and physically for college ball. From high school to college is a big jump. Not many players can do it. I came in at 135 pounds. I had to get stronger.

Pump: What did spring practice sessions do to improve your game?McGahee: I’m learning the system. It’s different. And now I’m back at wide receiver so I have to learn the whole offensive playbook.

Pump: What did your time playing and scrimmaging as a cornerback teach you now that you’re an offensive receiver again?McGahee: I know a lot of coverages and formations that teams might throw in front of me. I know exactly what defensive backs don’t want me to do. It gives you an advantage to have played on both sides of the ball for sure.

Pump: Talk about Schnellenberger.McGahee: He’s a funny guy. A lot of people don’t know that. When I first got here, I was a little intimidated. He’s a legendary coach. Then over the years you start to talk to him and he’s a regular guy. He’s real funny. When I first got here he called me “Little Man” as a nickname. Still to this day he calls me “Little Man”. And, of course, he has a great knowledge of the game.

Pump: Talk about a high school hero moment.McGahee: Well, when I was a sophomore at Sebring High School I was playing varsity. It was the first round of the playoffs – 4th quarter, 1:20 on the clock, and we were down 19-14. I was playing wide receiver and we had 60 yards to drive. Clock was winding down and we got to [the opponent’s] 30-yard line. Coach called a time out, brought us in to the huddle, and basically said, “Casey, we’re calling your number.” The whole season they threw to me twice for two touchdowns, so this would be my third catch all year. Coach called a quick slant to try and get a first down. All I could think was, “Just catch the ball. Don’t drop it.” As I got up to the line of scrimmage I noticed the defensive back was playing off of me. They had got all our videotapes, they never threw to me so he wasn’t respecting me at the line. The quarterback threw a ball that I couldn’t drop and I moved up field, gave the defensive back a little move and took it in for a touchdown. It was the first time Sebring got to the playoffs in 30 years, so it was kind of a big deal.

Pump: Favorite football flick?McGahee: Friday Night Lights.

Pump: Favorite hangout in Boca or campus?McGahee: Most of us athletes never go far from the Oxley. We spend most of our time here during season and off-season. I probably spend more time at the Oxley than in my room.

Pump: What do you think of the beautiful Oxley Center?McGahee: It’s a really nice facility. We have a study hall with 30 computers and real nice weight room. Locker room is cool and we have a great practice field out back.

Pump: What are you looking forward to in the ’05 season?McGahee: I’m looking forward to being a big part of special teams, returning punts and kickoffs. Also, the ESPN2 Oklahoma State game will be great. We’ll get to show the nation what FAU is all about.

Alright, so McGahee will be sure to take down some touchdown catches and returns. You should be sure to make plans to come out to as many home games as possible to support the team. We need 15,000 fans at each home game to continue to progress towards a National Championship. So get your red and blue afro-wig on and come out for some hardcore wave action in the stands with the marching band!

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