CUTHBERT — Herald Super 6er Gary McCrae led the Randolph-Clay basketball team to a regular season Region 1-A title and an Elite 8 appearance earlier this year.
But as it turns out, his future is on the gridiron.
The two-sport Red Devil star chose football on Wednesday by committing to the University of Georgia, which offered him a scholarship after a Tuesday workout in Athens.
“I’m committed to the G,” McCrae said. “I had other offers, but I was just sitting back and waiting. When the Georgia offer came, I knew it was home.”
McCrae had nearly a dozen Division I football offers before Georgia came calling, including Kentucky, Cincinnati, Southern Miss and Western Kentucky — but his performance on the field Tuesday in front of Georgia head coach Mark Richt was enough to give McCrae the offer he had been waiting for.
“They said they liked my athletic ability,” said McCrae, who played linebacker for the Red Devils but only saw limited playing time last year as a junior after tearing his meniscus in a preseason scrimmage game. “They saw that I can do about anything. I was playing outside linebacker at first (at Tuesday’s camp) but then they moved me to inside linebacker. Then I asked (offensive coordinator Mike Bobo) if I could go to the offensive side, and he let me play running back, slot receiver and tight end.
“I told them I would play wherever is a best fit for the team to help them win.”
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound McCrae is officially committed as an athlete, and Red Devils head coach Daniel McFather could see him succeeding at several different positions.
“He has the size and the speed,” McFather said. “He can be successful whether it’s at outside linebacker or as a rushing end or even on the offensive side. If they want to put him at receiver, he’s a big ole target.”
McCrae made the Herald Super 6 basketball team as both a sophomore and a junior and will be one of those rare, three-time Super 6ers when he hits the hardcourt this winter.
And even though his future is football, he made it clear on Thursday that he has one more year of basketball left in him.
“I’m still going to play basketball and do what I do in basketball,” said McCrae, who averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three steals as a junior. “Football just gives me a better chance to play at the next level.”
That’s exactly what McFather told him four years ago when McCrae was leaning toward a future in basketball.
“I remember telling him back in ninth grade that he was a good basketball player but that he was a doggone good football player, too,” McFather said. “I wasn’t asking him to give basketball up, but with his height I told him that he would have to move to a shooting guard or point guard if he wanted to play Division I. At 6-foot-4 you can’t play down low in the post. I told him he could have a future at the next level in football.”
McCrae is following in the footsteps of 2001 Randolph-Clay grad Thomas Davis, who was an All-American safety at Georgia and is now a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers — another reason McCrae said he wanted to become a Bulldog.
“I talk to (Davis) every now and then on the phone, so that was a part of it,” McCrae said. “But really it’s nice to be close to home so my family can come see me play and I can be close to my family.”