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Jenni Carlson: OSU's Andrew McGee answers higher calling to serve

Nominated for college football's Good Works Team, McGee says he came to Stillwater to tackle and teach.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: August 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm •  Published: August 13, 2010

STILLWATER — Andrew McGee had been on campus less than a week when he got a call from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Word was, the Oklahoma State defensive back wanted to do community work and church ministry. John Talley, the local FCA director, had a request from a church wanting a speaker to come and talk to its youth group.

The subject — sex education.

Was it a daunting assignment? Sure.

But that didn't discourage McGee.

"I was kind of thrown into the fire," he said, laughing. "But it grew me. It helped me a lot."

Some might contend that McGee has been the helpful one.

Since that first appearance a year and a half ago, he has spoken to more than 25,000 people at churches, schools and assemblies. He has helped with home-improvement projects for the underprivileged and team-building activities at various schools. He has volunteered at community food pantries and juvenile detention centers.

McGee is a rising star on the football field. He was the No. 3 cornerback last season, but with 32 tackles a year ago, he ranks second among returners. He is expected to be one of the Cowboys' starting cornerbacks.

Off the field, his star has already been hung.

McGee was nominated earlier this summer for the American Football Coaches Association's Good Works Team, and Talley intends to nominate him in coming months for FCA's Bobby Bowden Award, given last year to Texas quarterback Colt McCoy.

Awards, though, aren't the reason McGee does what he does.

"Every day that I wake up, I have to reach out to someone," he said. "God called me to do it."

Church attendance: From a chore to a hobby

Andrew McGee was like every other kid on Sunday mornings.

"Aww," he'd tell his parents, "I don't want to go to church."

But that's always where he and his four siblings ended up. Larry and Doris McGee made sure of it.

They were stalwarts at Church Alive in Magee, Miss., a small rural town less than an hour south of Jackson. Any time the church's doors were open, their family would be there. They prayed. They sang. They studied.

The older that Andrew McGee got, the more he wanted to be there.

"It went from a chore to a hobby," McGee said, "something I like to do."

He got involved more with his youth group, becoming a leader. He taught himself how to play the guitar, allowing him to lead worship.

His hobby soon became his passion.

McGee realized somewhere between his sophomore and junior years of high school that he'd been called to ministry. It was his life's work. It was his heart's desire.

A budding football career did nothing to change that. Even as he became a prep standout, went to junior college at nearby Copiah Lincoln and dreamed of moving on to a major-college program, he wanted to find a place where he felt led to both tackle and teach.

"Just like Moses or anybody that got called, (God) assigned them to a certain area or a certain people," McGee said. "Wherever he takes me and leads me and guides me, that's my platform."

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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Words of Wisdom

Some of Oklahoma State cornerback Andrew McGee's favorite quotations from his Facebook page:

“Make a living by what you get. Make a life by what you give.”

“No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”

“Faith is the substance for my addiction.”

“To live this way is to be radical. To be radical is to be countercultural. To be countercultural is to be like Jesus. To be like Jesus is my goal!”

“If they're breathing, they need to hear about Jesus.”

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