STILLWATER — Eight months ago, Andrew McGee’s football career was in jeopardy. The Oklahoma State cornerback suffered a broken neck during OSU’s Bedlam loss last November, throwing his life into flux.
“Initially, I didn’t know it was broken,” McGee said. “The terrifying part was sitting in the doctor’s office and having him tell me my neck was broken.”McGee had been able to walk off of Owen Field, with assistance, with no idea just how serious the injury was.
“That was scary,” McGee said of finding out the severity of his injury. “I felt like I could have been paralyzed, and it was tough dealing with that.”
After wearing a neck brace for a few months and missing spring practice, McGee was cleared to return to the field.
“It was hard going through it with a neck brace and all,” he said. “It was difficult. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to play football anymore. I was blessed to be able to come back.”
But, he still faced a sizable hurdle.
Football is a physical game, and timid souls need not apply. So while he was cleared to play, it would have been natural for him to be hesitant to return to the physical style that made him one of the Cowboys’ top tacklers in 2009.
Thoughts of the injury and the past easily could have crept into his mind every time he closed in on a running back to make a tackle or dived in front of a receiver to knock the ball away.
“Mentally, I didn’t know where my mind was going to be once I got back on the field,” McGee said. “I didn’t know if I would feel timid on the field ... but I haven’t been. It’s been good. It feels just like normal.”
Said defensive end Richetti Jones: “I’m proud of him. He worked so hard, now he’s back out there.”
Now, less than two weeks from OSU’s opener against Washington State at Boone Pickens Stadium, McGee is one of the leaders of the secondary.
In other words, he’s exactly were he would have been if the injury hadn’t happened.
“It was hard to deal with,” McGee said. “But here I am. God was there for me. I’m the same guy and I’m learning more (everyday), getting more experience.”
And he remains one of the most physical players on the defense.
“He had one of the hardest hits I’ve seen all (fall),” Jones said. “He hit a guy so hard he flipped. I feel like McGee is ready to roll.”
Said McGee: “I only know one way to play, and that’s to give it my all. People say I’m physical, but that’s just my play, I have to give it my all. I got hurt but that’s in my past now.
“I got a fresh start... so I give it my all, every time.”
ANDREW MCGEE THE MENTOR
Cornerback Andrew McGee is the only senior in Oklahoma State's starting secondary. The junior college transfer has taken on a bigger leadership role in his second year on campus, especially with sophomores and freshmen surrounding him at cornerback.
"I knew I had to be," McGee said of the leadership role. "My role on the defense, I'm the only senior in the secondary. I have to be vocal along with Markelle (Martin)."
Last year, McGee was OSU's third cornerback providing solid depth behind Terrance Anderson and Perrish Cox. This season, he's OSU's No. 1 cornerback and the leader of a young, and talented, group of defenders.
"It's a different role," he said. "I'm ready to be a leader and be the guy they need to be a lockdown (corner)."
McGee has made it a point to mentor sophomores Brodrick Brown and Andrae May along with freshmen Devin Hedgepeth, Larry Stephens and Justin Gilbert.
"We have some young corners that are going to be good," McGee said. "I want to be a leader in all areas and give an example so they can see that."By Brandon Chatmon