McGahee out to silence critics

He is a published writer, a Heisman candidate, and a distinguished football player for the number one college football team in America. These are just a few of the things a person might not know about Willis Andrew MaGahee.

For University of Miami’s 75th anniversary last year, there was an assignment in McGahee’s English 106 class to write about something they felt was significant to themselves as well as the University. Shockingly, he chose the history of Miami’s football team.

His professor enjoyed “Glory Days” and recommended it be published in a Miami magazine. After the ‘Canes won the Rose Bowl in the 2001 season, he revealed in his article that “…the Hurricanes have a tradition of finishing the season undefeated, starting with the University’s very first football team.”

He began to compare the team of 1926 to the current team of 2002 by saying, “One thing is that we have more players now, and they are better athletes. The very first team, they were excellent ball players but they weren’t really playing on the same level. They were good, but talent wise it wasn’t then like it is right now.”

As a native of Miami, MaGahee chose the University of Miami over University of Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Alabama and Louisiana State University, in order to stay close to his friends, family, and the city that he loves.

McGahee, a sophomore tailback, replaced Clinton Portis as the starter this year, but only after Frank Gore went down with an injury. At the end of the 2001 season, MaGahee averaged 4.7 yards per carry and scored only three touchdowns, while this season he is averaging an astounding 7.8 yards and has scored five touchdowns, including four last week against Temple.

“I didn’t know I had four…I just put my head down and try to make plays,” MaGahee said.

Against the Temple Owls alone, MaGahee rushed for 134 yards, marking his second consecutive performance of more than 100 yards. He rushed for 204 yards the week before against the Florida Gators. McGahee has accumulated a total of 398 yards and 5 touchdowns through the ‘Canes first three games.

“He’s just getting better week to week,” Miami’s running backs and special teams coach Don Soldinger said. “He’s a great blocker, and obviously a really tough kid. I think the biggest thing he has to work on is once he gets to the secondary, he has to learn to make some moves, or one move on the safety and go to the goal line. But I think he is just all around super, definitely a great player.”

This weekend, the Boston College Eagles swoop down to the Orange Bowl to take on the Hurricanes for the 24th time. MaGahee did not play against Boston College last year due to a knee injury. MaGahee is pumped to secure another win for the Hurricanes against the Eagles.

As he slightly limped off the practice field on Monday McGahee says, “Don’t worry, I’m just stretching my hamstrings. This coming weekend I’m just going to come out and play hard. No clowning around. We’re going to make good plays and just make good things happen.”

You can reach Dana at

September 20, 2002


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.