June 22, 2011

One team stands out

For a young man just approaching his junior year, Cedar Grove quarterback Johnathan McCrary already has a clear idea of what his future holds.

He doesn't plan on committing until sometime after his senior year in 2013, before enrolling at his chosen school in January of 2014.

As one of the state of Georgia's fastest-rising young prospects, McCrary already boasts a Who's Who list of schools from which to choose, including the likes of Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee and yes, the homestate Georgia Bulldogs, who offered the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder back on June 12.

All total, McCrary's offer list stands at 10 with more certainly to come his way.

But although the Atlanta native plans on being very meticulous when making his ultimate decision, McCrary did concede during a telephone interview with UGASports that the homestate Bulldogs are currently the team to beat.

"They're definitely No. 1 on my list right now," McCrary said of Georgia. "They're No. 1."

McCrary is the second quarterback for 2013 offered by Georgia thus far, joining Camden County's Brice Ramsey who was offered last May.

McCrary's offer came following his participation in the recent Mark Richt camp, after which he received the offer from the head Dawg himself.

"Coach (Mike) Bobo worked me out to see my accuracy, watched my mechanics and as soon as I finished my workout, I went to Coach Richt's office and he offered me right there," McCrary said. "He told me they might not bring in a quarterback for the 2012 class and that I would have plenty of time to come in, learn the offense and compete for playing time with some of the veterans of the team."

McCrary said the Bulldog staff has been talking to him since his freshman year.

Ironically, it wasn't too long before that when McCrary - whose father Greg McCrary played seven seasons at tight end with three different NFL teams - tried his hand at quarterback for the first time.

"I'd only been playing quarterback since the seventh or eighth grade," McCrary said. "I used to play nose guard, linebacker, wide receiver and running back."

But that was until a former coach gathered McCrary's team around him and asked a question the young player will never forget.

"We had a bunch of athletes, but my coach asked a question - 'which one of you wants to be the leader of this team?'" recalled McCrary, who said he immediately raised his hand. "He said 'OK, you're my quarterback' and I said 'OK, Coach.' I've been the quarterback ever since."

The position has obviously suited him well.

As a sophomore, McCrary threw for 3,347 yards while rushing for 700 more.

"I enjoy being in control of the game," he said. "I have to have the feel of the game and feel like I have the opportunity to control it and decide the outcome."

Unlike many young players, McCrary doesn't pattern his game after any one quarterback, although he admits to admiring the playing style of the likes of Terrelle Pryor, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Warren Moon.

"I like how they control the game," he said. "These older and experienced guys - they can teach me a lot about life."

But ultimately, it's always his father, brother and sister he's leaned on to learn life's most important lessons.

He greatly admires the work his dad put forth to carve out his seven-year NFL career (1975-1981) after playing college ball at Clark-Atlanta.

"Pretty much back in that time it was hard to play football so he gives me the strength, he gives me the knowledge for the reasons to play football now," he said. "Back then, they sometimes didn't get the chances and have the privilege to play football that we have now. He's definitely made me appreciate the game."

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