One of Pasco County’s top running backs is taking his talents south — to Hillsborough County.
Senior 1,000-yard rusher Da Da McGee has transferred from Wiregrass Ranch High School to Hillsborough High School, just weeks before the start of the 2017 prep football season.
McGee was one of seven tailbacks in Pasco County to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark last season, rushing for 1,063 yards and 11 touchdowns on 180 carries.
And, he was one of just three tailbacks in east Pasco to accomplish the feat, joining Wesley Chapel’s Dexter Leverett (1,249 rush yards, 10 touchdowns) and Bishop McLaughlin’s Luis Valentin (1,072 rush yards, 11 touchdowns).
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound McGee also led Wiregrass Ranch in rushing his sophomore year (333 yards, three touchdowns), despite missing five games with a shoulder injury.
Losing McGee, a 2016 SAC (Sunshine Athletic Conference) East All-Conference First-Team Selection, marks a significant and the latest — blow to the Wiregrass Ranch football squad.
In June, the Bulls saw two other top players — cornerback Shamaur McDowell and athlete Raymond Woodie III— exit the program.
McDowell — a three-star prospect and University of Minnesota commit — transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, while Woodie III — a four-star prospect boasting over 20 scholarship offers — moved to Eugene, Oregon, with his family.
Yet, Wiregrass Ranch — coming off its best season in school history (7-3, District 7A-8 runner-up) — still remains a solid team, under third-year coach Mark Kantor.
The Bulls return senior cornerback Jordan Miner, a Penn State University commit and four-star prospect regarded as one of the premier players in the Tampa Bay area.
The Bulls also appear to have a promising starting quarterback in junior Grant Sessums.
With McGee’s departure, senior fullback Chase Oliver (443 yards, 7 touchdowns in 2016) figures to garner additional carries, as a between-the-tackles power runner.
McGee, meanwhile, joins a Hillsborough High program steeped in tradition since head coach Earl Garcia took over in 1993.
Garcia, the winningest active coach in Hillsborough County with 236 victories, has produced more than 200 scholarship student-athletes. He’s also coached 15 players who went on to make NFL active rosters.
Hillsborough High went 8-2 last season, but lost several key playmakers, including defensive end Zachary Carter (University of Florida signee) and running back Duran Bell Jr. (University of South Florida signee).
Besides Bell Jr., Hillsborough High graduated its other top two rushers in Drequan McCullough (494 rush yards, four touchdowns) and Russell Booth (192 rush yards, four touchdowns), giving McGee the inside track to become the team’s starting tailback.
–Stats compiled by MaxPreps.com–
2017 Kickoff Classic schedule
Schedules for the 2017 Statewide Kickoff Classic preseason football games have been released. All kickoff classics are scheduled for 7 p.m. Here’s a list of games involving Pasco County teams in the The Laker/Lutz News coverage area:
Land O’ Lakes High School at Wesley Chapel High School
Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School at Superior Collegiate High School
Cypress Creek Middle High at Fivay High School
Mitchell High School at Zephyrhills High School
Ridgewood High School at Pasco High School
Wiregrass Ranch High School at Clearwater Central Catholic High School
Gulf High School at Zephyrhills Christian Academy
Lakewood High School at Sunlake High School
Published August 16, 2017