So Close

Against long odds, Willis McGahee is ready for the NFL Draft -- thanks, in no small part, to his family.

Updated: April 17, 2003, 6:06 PM ET
By Bruce Feldman
"Why did this happen to me, Mama?"

An hour after the Fiesta Bowl, Willis McGahee is sobbing. His mother, Jannie, wearing a replica of her son's No.2 jersey, and big brother Eugene have finally caught up with McGahee on the team bus. They'd been trying to get to him since he was carted off the field, his shredded left knee immobilized. Eugene had cleared a path through the crowd for Jannie from their seats near the end zone. They'd rushed through the tunnels beneath Sun Devil Stadium to the Miami locker room. But neither Mama's pleading nor Eugene's 23-inch pipes had swayed security, so Willis had to sit with a trainer in an empty room, watching the now-classic upset unfold on TV.