When head football coach and athletic director Shane Mobley was hired, he mentioned that he took assistant coaches Chris Carruthers and Giles Montgomery to a basketball game to take a look at some of the athletes they would soon be working with.
There, Mobley recounted his first impressions of the “really tall” and “really skinny” A.J. McGee and how he thought McGee would be someone who would stick with hoops and he started thinking, “What are we going to have to do to keep this kid in football?”
“Sure enough, coming in, he bought in big time and it has been an honor and a pride and joy to coach A.J.,” Mobley said at Friday afternoon’s signing ceremony.
The celebration was more of a formality with the paperwork and McGee’s commitment to East Texas Baptist University already finalized to play the game that Mobley thought might be difficult to keep him in.
McGee garnered a first-team all-district nod as a wide receiver and earned a second-team honor as a defensive back on a team that made it to the regional semifinals and fell to the ultimate state runner-up Liberty Hill Panthers.
That, along with a coaching connection, led McGee to East Texas Baptist, all four hours away from Sealy.
“When Coach Mob was taking me to ETBU he was telling me that he knew somebody who could take care of me and then I went to the campus and it was beautiful,” McGee noted. “I got to know the coaches and they’re all nice people.”
The mascot for the university in Marshall, Texas, is also a Tiger and McGee added that it certainly made the decision a little easier.
“Once a Tiger, always a Tiger,” he said with a smile.
However, these Tigers play a lot further away from where he and his parents, Adrian and Chrissy, have been used to watching A.J. play.
He noted his parents were “kind of upset but I hope they get used to it,” and soon brought up their influence, along with the rest of his family, that allowed him to do what he always wanted to do.
“It’s a big impact,” he said of the support shown in the gym lobby Friday afternoon. “My parents did everything to get me here, my friends are good people to hang with and they got me on the right track.”
Also helping to keep him on that correct track was the man who only got a short amount of time to say he was his coach, but Mobley spoke to the honor it was for him to be able to own that title, regardless of the duration, and left him with one more parting lesson.
“Mom and Dad, first of all, thank you for allowing us to be able to coach him it’s been a huge honor,” Mobley said. “A.J., we wish you nothing but the best; you go live your dreams, don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something because you’re living proof that you can do whatever you want to do in life so don’t be your own worst enemy, you go and you be the best you possibly can be and we wish you the best of luck.”