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Friday May 9, 2014 Gators Right Fit for McGee; Virginia Transfer to Start Classes at UF on Monday

Jake McGee

Jake McGee, who will finish his career at UF, caught 43 passes for 395 yards at Virginia last year.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for Jake McGee.

McGee announced plans to play his final season of eligibility elsewhere after finishing his undergraduate degree last month at Virginia. He finalized that plan Friday and starts classes Monday at Florida.

McGee, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end who led the Cavaliers with 43 receptions for 395 yards last season, said UF was a good fit academically and athletically to start the next chapter of his life.

Jake McGee

“It’s been an interesting process. It’s definitely weird to leave a school you graduated from and have been with for four years and I have a lot of good memories there, but I’m excited to play my last year at Florida and hopefully we’ll win some ballgames,’’ McGee said. “Everything will be new to me, but I’m confident in my ability to get to know guys and create relationships. I don’t think it will take too long for the guys to accept me as one of their own.”

The addition of McGee provides first-year offensive coordinator Kurt Roper with a versatile threat in the passing game and a seasoned veteran in the locker room.

While at Duke, Roper recruited McGee out of the Collegiate School in Richmond, the alma mater of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. McGee opted to sign with the Cavaliers but remained familiar with Roper’s up-tempo offense in head-to-head meetings between Virginia and Duke in the ACC.

That familiarity played a big role in McGee’s decision.

“Their offense, being on the other side, was sort of fun to watch,’’ McGee said. “They did a lot of cool things and really did a lot with the tight end position that excites me as a player. There’s a lot of versatility with the position to create mismatches and be allowed to do all sorts of different things.”

During a recent visit to Florida, McGee met Gators head coach Will Muschamp, quarterback Jeff Driskel and other players to get a feel for the program.

He and Muschamp connected quickly.

“I got a lot of support from Coach Muschamp and his interest in me,’’ McGee said. “We built a connection. It was a short amount of time, but I felt a strong level of trust with Coach Muschamp to build a relationship.

"It was also a great opportunity to pursue a graduate degree from the University of Florida. It has always been important to me to find a school that fits me academically and athletically and I've been fortunate to find that twice with UVA and Florida."

McGee caught 71 passes for 769 yards and seven touchdowns the past two seasons at Virginia. He caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Virginia’s win over Miami in 2012 and proved very efficient in crunch time.

According to his Virginia bio, 26 of McGee’s 43 receptions last season went for a first down or a touchdown, and 14 of those catches came on third-down plays.

McGee will drive to Gainesville this weekend and start classes Monday.

“I’m excited to get down there and get going,’’ he said. “I’m just trying to come in and get to know the guys and doing anything and everything the coaches ask me. I want to bring as much as I can to the team and the university to help the team win. Whatever that is, I’m willing to do.”

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