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Monday, December 15, 2014

Local Douglass Descendant Is Off to the Big Time!


Science Hill senior quarterback Malik McGue has committed to Army.

McGue made the announcement Sunday night, one day after attending the Army-Navy game in Baltimore and absorbing all its pageantry.

“It was already my No. 1 school … and it was a pretty amazing experience,” McGue said. “It was pretty surreal just to be there and knowing I’d have an opportunity to be a part of that in a few years. … Actually, I didn’t think I was gonna be making a commitment this early. Just being at that game kind of gave me a feel for what they’re all about.”

McGue is also receiving interest from East Tennessee State, Chattanooga and Tennessee State, among others. He still intends to make an official visit to West Point, and said he might make one to Tennessee State, though he’s 99 percent sure he’ll stick with his commitment barring an extreme circumstance such as a coaching change.

McGue capped a busy weekend by formally being announced as the Big Seven Conference offensive player of the year at the league banquet on Sunday. He went to Cookeville last Tuesday to begin practice for Friday’s Toyota East-West All-Star game.

After the all-star game he went to Nashville to fly to Baltimore by way of Charlotte. He stayed with a cousin he’d never met, Derek Holly, who lives some 45 minutes outside of Baltimore. Holly attended the Army-Navy game with him.

“It was cooler than I expected it to be,” McGue said. “Coming to the game it was already my No. 1 school and that just kind of put the cap on everything. … I kind of wanted to go ahead and get it over with and get that weight off my shoulders. I was pretty sure in my heart that this was where I wanted to be, so I went ahead and made the commitment.”

The elusive McGue was the Johnson City Press Elite 11 co-player of the year – with Elizabethton running back Ethan Thomas – and a Mr. Football finalist this season.

McGue started two years at receiver and kick returner and played defensive back before taking over the past two years at quarterback, where he engineered the Hilltoppers to two straight Big Seven Conference titles.

He rushed for 1,171 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, and passed for 2,320 yards and 25 TDs. He also had in excess of 400 yards via kick and punt returns.

He produced 93 TDs during his career as a ‘Topper.

Perhaps his most impressive feat was going 3-0 as a starting quarterback against Dobyns-Bennett, which had beaten the Hilltoppers 19 straight times prior to him taking over at quarterback. And his first win against the Indians came two days after popping his throwing shoulder out of place.
He was reminded of the D-B series while watching Army lose to Navy for the 13th straight time – coming up short despite battling passionately in a 17-10 loss.

“I didn’t realize that Navy had a streak on ‘em like that,” McGue said. “When I heard that streak … I was thinking about the D-B streak and how long they had beat up on Science Hill. … So hopefully I would be able to go in there and be a part of a team like I was at Science Hill that ends the streak at Army.”

Also a quarterback as a point guard in basketball, McGue got a late start this season due to leading the Hilltoppers football team to its first quarterfinal appearance since 1994. But he averaged 15.5 points per game in two games prior to missing three last week to play in the all-star game.
McGue is being loosely projected as a slot back and slot receiver, and said he’s told he’ll get a shot at quarterback – at least for certain packages.

“With that veer offense they basically have three running backs,” McGue said. “They said they’re putting in more of a shotgun spread package and I’d be running slot receiver with that. And then also they told me that they’d give me a look at quarterback just based on what I’ve done in my high school career. … They told me they’d move me around, see what I have the best feel for and then just go from there.”

Science Hill coach Stacy Carter, a former Army Ranger, said the intelligent McGue has excellent leadership skills which West Point will enhance.

“When I told him about it today he was kind of surprised,” McGue said. “The look over his face, you know, he was really surprised about it. … I feel like going to West Point, definitely, that’s the goal to come out of there being a leader. And those leadership qualities – this will definitely pull the best out of me.”