SAN ANTONIO â€” When you put together a list of Oklahoma State's All-Big 12 first-team honorees, several names jump into your mind immediately.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden. Running back Kendall Hunter. Receiver Justin Blackmon.
There's a good chance you could go through 15 or more names before getting to cornerback Andrew McGee.
The senior is arguably the most overlooked All-Big 12 player of 2010.
â€œI think he is,â€ defensive tackle Chris Donaldson said. â€œYou don't hear a lot about him, but he's a good player. (To do this) after a broken neck? It's unbelievable really.â€
A year ago at this time, McGee was in a neck brace, watching his teammates play in the Cotton Bowl. He had broken his neck against Oklahoma in 2009, but his confidence he would return to the field never wavered.
â€œHe came back and he was so determined,â€ said Donaldson, one of McGee's closest friends on the team. â€œMost people, if they break their neck, they're down. He always had a smile on his face, he was happy, he kept a good spirit about him. I never heard him be down about it, it was like, â€˜It's nothing, I'll be back.'â€
And he came back with a vengeance.
McGee led the Big 12 in interceptions with five, and he could be a key part of a Cowboys secondary that will be under the spotlight when OSU faces Arizona in the Alamo Bowl at 8:15 tonight.
â€œIt's a good story to tell young people, not to ever give up,â€ McGee said. â€œWhatever you are going through, just keep going, keep pressing on and you'll see the fruit from what you are doing.â€
With the Pokes' pass defense ranked No. 115 nationally, allowing 275.5 yards per game, Arizona quarterback Nick Foles and receiver Juron Criner must be licking their chops at the thought of facing the Cowboys.
â€œI like challenges,â€ McGee said. â€œIt's like the OU game. I was glad to go against (Ryan) Broyles and (Kenny) Stills and their receivers, so I'm looking forward to the challenge and competition.â€
McGee has NFL dreams, and he can make a statement with a strong bowl game against Criner, an All-Pac 10 receiver who finished the season with 74 receptions for 1,197 yards and 10 touchdowns.
â€œI couldn't ask for a better season, with the interceptions and being All-Big 12,â€ McGee said. â€œTo put the icing on top, I hope to get to the NFL.â€
And if the NFL doesn't work out, he'll have plenty of options, including one potentially intriguing option.
â€œHe's so strong and durable mentally,â€ coach Mike Gundy said. â€œI love to have him stay around the program. I'd really like to hire him in some capacity.â€
Sounds like a great ending to an improbable senior season.