Gerald McGee, Jr. | Purdue University |DB / Track
Q: Tell us about your college (or pro) career and what the recruiting/scouting process was like. Why did you choose Purdue University?
A: My college recruiting/scouting process was fairly simple. I never fully understood the ability I had until later in my college career. I always knew I had special talent but never really tapped into and utilized it. I had a little interest from schools like Eastern Illinois and Illinois State for football, but most came from Grand Valley State University which is where I got a scholarship offer from and started. I found out very quickly that it wasn’t the right fit for me and something nagging inside of me was telling me that I had the ability to aim higher. I set my eyes on Purdue because they were a team struggling, especially in the secondary and I planned on running track there as well. After speaking with the Head Track coach and really clicking with him, that is where I decided to transfer and walk-on. I never was able to get a shot at the football team which was not due to my lack of ambition. I could go on about all that happened but long story short, they never even gave me a chance. It didn’t really make sense because I had proven to have some ability from my track career up to that point. I had 3 long jumps that were top 10 in Purdue history with one of them being number 2, been on the Purdue record 4×100 team, run a 10.6 100m dash one of the two times I ever ran it and a 2x 2nd team All-American in the 4×100.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
A: I would say my biggest accomplishment would be the workout I put together for Grand Valley State that earned me a scholarship. Without it, I don’t know where I would be right now as I did not have the grades at the time to be accepted to college by simply applying.
My biggest strength is my explosiveness/speed. Speed is something that just cannot be taught and at DB, especially at the professional level, it is a necessity. Especially in a passing league that is always looking for deep threat receivers.
~ Geral McGee, Jr.
Q: What do you consider to be one of the more important things you learned from the coaching staff while playing at Purdue University?
A: My long jump coach Chris Huffins was an olympic athlete and bronze medalist. One day in one of our meetings, he said I remind him a lot of someone, turned around and pulled out a picture of himself during competition. He looked at me and said he could recognize the same chip on my shoulder that he had. He paused for a second and then looked back at me and said “Don’t lose it.”
Q: How was your career impacted due to the 2020 pandemic and what have you learned from the adversity?
A: My career was not impacted as I was already out of school for some time. However, one of the things that I did recognize is that time is short. I’m young but at the same time that youth is on its way out the door so it’s time to make a decision and use wisely what time is left on it.
Q: What was your major and what are your plans if football doesn’t work out?
A: My major was Movement and Sport Sciences. After football works out, I plan on going back home to Ft. Wayne, IN to work with my dad in his Orthopedic Medical Device Sales and Distribution business and also get a business of my own running.
Q: What would your current/past teammates say about you and your qualities?
A: They would say that I’m a really laid back and cool person that can also flip the switch to extremely outgoing and intense leader when necessary.
Q: What has been one of the most memorable plays of your career at any level?
A: In the entirety of my track career which started when I was 8, I had never got the clap going during long jump because I just didn’t want the attention. It wasn’t in my personality to do so and I never planned on it. In my first year at Purdue, we had a track meet at Notre Dame and out of nowhere, my jumps coach got the clap going for me right before my approach. It completely threw off my jump but it did so because it created so much adrenaline. I immediately understood why people did it after that. Fast forward to the finals, I’m tied for second on my last jump and instinctively knew to get the clap going myself for the first time. The same adrenaline came back but this time, I had an idea of how to control myself. I came down the runway, jumped and felt like I was going to fly out of the pit. I ended up fouling the jump which everyone protested because they didn’t think I did, but my head coach made them measure it anyway. It ended up being a jump over 25 feet and it was the first time I ever got a real glimpse at the ability that I had despite people around me telling me I had it for a very long time.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it?
A: My biggest challenge is getting out of my own head. I could probably think myself into a heart attack if I tried. I manage it by always holding onto what I know to be true and reel myself back in by relaying my thoughts through that. If they go against it, I reject them and realign them with that truth.
Q: If you could compare yourself to a pro athlete, who would that be and why?
A: I would compare myself to Brent Grimes. He’s a smaller corner like myself but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in athleticism and explosiveness.
Q: What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you?
A: My biggest strength is my explosiveness/speed. Speed is something that just cannot be taught and at DB, especially at the professional level, it is a necessity. Especially in a passing league that is always looking for deep threat receivers.
Q: Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back” or ”pay it forward” in your community?
A: I am currently not in my home community, but I was working with Traction Athletic Performance for about a year to help develop high school level athletes for college ball. I shared my time and experiences as a high level collegiate athlete with them to help set the tone for what it takes. I also have plans with a future business idea of mine, to give back to the community in a big way.
Q: How are you preparing for the 2021 National Scouting Combine and what are your goals?
A: I am currently training on my own, with all of the knowledge I have accumulated throughout the years. Soon I will reach out to some good friends of mine who are excellent trainers and have them help tailor a schedule for me to follow. My goals are to get back as close as possible to the shape I was in during the beginning of my senior year of track as possible.
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
A: With the opportunity presented, it would be getting picked up by an NFL team, given a shot and making that 53 man roster.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not playing football?
A: I enjoy researching and learning about any and everything that I can. My favorite thing to do though is garden when the weather permits. It is definitely something I’m passionate about.
Q: If you could make a positive impact on all of society what would it be and why?
A: If I could impact all of society enough to get them to think critically and think for themselves, that would be wonderful. There is a serious deficiency of independent and organic thought which has allowed the world and the country to get to the point it is in right now.
Q: Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
A: Up until I got married two months ago, I would say my dad. But now it is most definitely my wife. He is still right there but almost everything I do on a day by day basis is with her in mind.
Q: What is something unique about you that people would find interesting?
A: Just how passionate I am about gardening. I picked it up a year ago and in that time I have become consumed by it.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: My dream job would be educating people and providing consultation as well as labor, in establishing, maintaining, improving or rearranging vegetable gardens and edible landscapes.