Coaches want former EA running back to play linebacker for Tigers
By JOSH FRYE
The anticipation of learning where former Escambia Academy football standout Patrick McGhee will play college football is over.
McGhee, who picked up 2,000 total yards and scored 38 touchdowns last season with the Cougars, recently put ink to paper and committed to play for the University of West Alabama.
“I am extremely excited for the opportunity,” McGhee said. “I have fulfilled one of the biggest dreams in my life.”
McGhee grew up with dreams of playing college football, and over the course of his senior year at EA, he met with several colleges and universities. When the football scholarship offer came from West Alabama, which is located in Livingston, he jumped at the opportunity.
“West Alabama has produced some great football players over the years,” McGhee explained. “Some previous players have had the opportunity to go pro, and I hope I can be among the next.”
During his time at EA, McGhee had the opportunity to create some special football memories, including a 2017 AISA state championship.
As an active member of the EA track team, McGhee helped lead the Cougars to the state championship in that sport. He won state titles in long jump and high jump and received a notable fifth-place finish in state shot put finals.
“Winning state is one of my most cherished memories,” McGhee said. “My teammates at EA are my brothers. We have a special bond that cannot be broken, and that is what I will miss the most.”
Along with the bond that McGhee shares with his teammates, he stressed that he will also miss his mentor and father figure, EA headmaster and head football coach, Hugh Fountain.
“Coach Fountain has been a father to me,” he said. “He has not only taught me how to be a good football player, but a good man.”
McGhee grew up with a love for the game of football and always dreamed of the opportunity he presently finds himself with.
Along with helping lead his team to the 2017 state championship, McGhee had 16 runs of at least 60 yards, won the All-Saban Running Back Award in 2016 and 2017 at the Nick Saban Camp and received most valuable player honors at the National Athletic Association of Private Schools All-Star Game.
McGhee is currently settling into his dorm at West Alabama, preparing for the road ahead. In the coming weeks, he will be working out with the team and preparing for his new role as a linebacker.
“Switching from a running back to a linebacker is going to be a big change, but I have been able to have some experience at EA in the position previously,” the former Cougars standout said. “The coaching staff at West Alabama feels like I can be more of a dominant force at linebacker, and the transition is not an unusual one for football players. I am excited for the opportunity and the change.”
Over the next several weeks McGhee will be working on weightlifting, conditioning and drills.
The Tigers freshman said his plan is to work as hard as he can to earn the starting linebacker position when an opening appears.
“I know I am going to have to prove myself,” McGhee said. “I am nervous, but I am going to soak it all in. I am prepared to work as hard as I can. I want to help put EA on the map. I owe the opportunity to my Cougar family at EA.”
McGhee plans to major in sports medicine during his time at the UWA. He will get his first taste of college football on Saturday, September 7, when West Alabama hosts the Limestone College Saints.