Tyrique McGhee not afraid to get physical

Brandon Sudge, Staff
GA Varsity
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Radi Nabulsi

Kirby Smart - while recruiting Tyrique McGhee at both Alabama and Georgia -noticed something unique when he would watch the 5-foot-10 cornerback at his high school practices.

McGhee was sure to bring physicality to the practice field, a quality that was urged by Peach County coach Chad Campbell.

"I want to say Peach County is one of the most physical practices I've ever seen," Smart said. "When I go watch them practice it's like Oklahoma drill, they will hit you, they will hat you up."

It brought a grin to McGhee's face when he learned that Smart credited his group down in Fort Valley. McGhee showed his physicality on a number of occasions at the prep level, and was recruited as a three-star prospect.

He credits his old coaching staff, and could see those qualities translate to college for his high school teammates. Georgia will have another former Trojan join McGhee next season as Kearis Jackson is committed to the Bulldogs as a four-star wide receiver.

"Good ole Peach County," McGhee said. "Coach Campbell prepares his guys the right way to get ready for the next level. I feel like any of those guys that come in upcoming classes, they'll be ready for the college level. It helped me get used to the physicality."

For McGhee, it translated and Smart saw a desire for the small defensive back to make contact. It's something that the Bulldogs' head coach "loves" and continues to consistently see.

Whether it be striking, hitting an opponent or encouraging his own teammates, Georgia has plenty to like about its sophomore contributor.

"His size doesn't matter," Georgia senior outside linebacker Davin Bellamy said. "Tyrique is one of those guys at practice that's going full speed - hitting and thudding bigger backs. He shows a lot in practice, so when you guys see him in a game, it's nothing new to us."

McGhee has played at a greater volume as senior Malkom Parrish is continuing to ease back into a starting role. Parrish suffered a fractured foot in preseason practice and only began to see sporadic action against Mississippi State.

McGhee has already topped his tackle total from his freshman season (8) with 11 wrap-ups through four games.

"I have always had a knack for the ball," McGhee said. "I also learned to be a better tackler up here. There's always room to get better, and coach Smart gets on me everyday. It's something you try to better your craft on."

Georgia's defense prides itself on success in the run game, but the next test comes against Tennessee and John Kelly - who has recorded 450 rushing yards and six touchdowns through four games.

But it doesn't seem to faze the Bulldogs as they know what must happen in order to contain the Volunteers' leading offensive contributor. Georgia has put Prather Hudson on scout team to emulate Kelly, but the defense also gets opportunity to defend some rotating running backs.

"We put ourselves in a position to be physical, no matter who we're facing," McGhee said. "When you come in each week with that mindset, it's easy to give it back -- especially facing guys like (Nick) Chubb throughout the week. We pride ourselves on it, and coach (Mel) Tucker says no finesse corners."

As McGhee's sophomore campaign lives on, his talents continue to be seen by his teammates and they see a bigger role looming.

"He may be small, but he has the heart of a champion," Bellamy said. "His knowledge of the game really slows it down for him."

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