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Monday, August 20, 2012
John Michael McGee talks OU departure

By Bob Przybylo

For years, offensive guard John Michael McGee was told the same thing over and over. McGee, who grew up a huge basketball fan, never really liked football. But coaches told him repeatedly, “you’ll like it eventually.”

McGee hoped it might happen at the high school level, but it never materialized. And after his first summer camp and couple of days of fall camp at Oklahoma, McGee realized it simply wasn’t going to come.

Instead of wasting any more of his time or the school’s time, McGee, a 2012 Sooners signee who graduated from Texarkana Texas High, elected to leave the Sooners on Aug. 6 and has enrolled at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.

“The last couple of weeks have actually been pretty good,” McGee said. “I know everybody has their opinion about my decision, but they’re not living my life. I have to do what’s best for me.”

McGee said the most backlash came from people on Twitter, but he also had a lot of support from the OU program and his family.

He said it wasn’t anything that OU did or didn’t do. It wasn’t a case of being homesick. He simply has never had the passion for football and only played it because he was good at it.

“I was going through summer workouts and thinking I can do this,” McGee said. “But you need to have passion.

“When I played in high school, I played to please the people around me. It was tougher to tell my mom than to tell the coaches that I didn’t want to play anymore.”

McGee was a four-star prospect ranked No. 12 at offensive guard. After committing to OU in June 2011, he was among the most vocal supporters of the Sooners on Twitter. He became popular with OU fans and fellow signees because of his outgoing personality.

McGee was recruited by offensive guards coach James Patton and the first person McGee told about his decision was Patton.

“He said I was doing well and understood that it could be overwhelming. He wanted me to give it another chance,” McGee said.

Quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel reiterated Patton’s words, but McGee had already realized football wasn’t the sport for him.

McGee said he is unsure about his future plans. He is going to finish this semester at A&M-Texarkana before deciding what he is going to do next. He said he thought about leaving the team but staying in school at OU but ultimately decided going back home was the best option.

He said he has been approached about playing football again but has also had some interest from some smaller basketball programs.

“Right now I don’t know what I’m going to do,” McGee said. “I’m really focused on school. I can go to school without sports. I haven’t figured everything out yet.”

One thing he does know, though, is he has no regrets.

“If I do watch a game this season, there won’t be a feeling of regret,” McGee said. “Good luck to the Sooners. I know a lot of those guys so I’ll be cheering them on. People like Durron [Neal] and Sterling [Shepard], I’m still talking to them. I know they’re going to do big things.”