This morning we’re continuing our ongoing look back at the ten Georgia Bulldogs I tabbed during the preseason to increase their profile during 2017. Sometimes I was right. Other times I was wrong. But I’m rarely indecisive. Which is something I have in common with our #7 ‘Dawg poised to pounce, cornerback Tyrique McGhee.
Before the season I opined:
I expect that McGhee’s tenaciousness, experience, and versatility will bring him off the bench ahead of more heralded freshmen even when Parrish returns. But regardless of where he’s ultimately situated Tyrique McGhee is a player you should get used to seeing on the field, the kind of player who could make a huge difference in a big game situation.
Was I right? Did McGhee find a place in a crowded veteran secondary and come up big in big games?
I’d say this one is a definite “yes.” When senior Malkom Parrish went down early with a foot injury the sophomore slid into the starting lineup. McGhee played well against Mississippi State, breaking up a couple of passes.
He picked off Vol QB Quentin Dormady on the first defensive snap of the game to start the 41-0 rout of Tennessee. McGhee finished that one with four total pass breakups, as the Volunteer coaching staff made the extremely questionable decision to repeatedly target a physical cornerback playing with a chip on his shoulder.*
In all, Tyrique finished the season with 14 solo tackles, 11 assists, and a forced fumble. That was an exponential increase in production from his true freshman campaign. He played valuable snaps on special teams as well.
Looking ahead, Tyrique McGhee should be in the mix for a starting spot at corner in 2018. The graduation of Parrish and Aaron Davis as well as the apparent loss (at least for now) of Deangelo Gibbs means that McGhee should be the prohibitive favorite to start opposite Deandre Baker at corner. But there’s also a reasonable chance that he could move over to the star position given his versatility.
In other words, I think in six months I could prject Tyrique McGhee to once again have a bigger season than the last and once again be correct.
Final verdict: Not only will he pounce, he’ll pop you.
*You may find this hard to believe given that a) he didn’t retain Sam Pittman as offensive line coach when he arrived in Knoxville, b) hired Mike Debord as his offensive coordinator even though he’d been out of football for three years, and c) tried to turn keeping a trash can on the sideline a motivational tactic, but Butch Jones is not a primo football decision maker.