Chicago lineman surprised by offer
A year ago, defensive lineman Gavin McCabe was determined to earn a scholarship offer from a mid-major college football program. Because of his hard work, he’s surpassed that goal and now has 22 offers, including from four Power Five conferences.
The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville became his first SEC offer last Wednesday.
“It was crazy,” McCabe said. “I couldn’t even believe it, having an SEC team offer me a scholarship. It’s unbelievable.”
McCabe, 6-3, 255 pounds, of Chicago Marist High School, also has offers from Rutgers, Boston College, Iowa State, Purdue, Kansas, Syracuse, Indiana and others. He contacted Razorbacks offensive line coach Kurt Anderson on Twitter last Tuesday.
“I sent him my film, and he actually responded right away,” McCabe said. “He actually had seen my film, which was surprising for me. He said he saw the film and showed it to the other coaches and they liked it a lot and they were going to give it to the head coach.”
The following day, Anderson direct-messaged him on Twitter.
“He said he wanted me to call him,” McCabe said. “We talked for a little bit, and he said they were offering me.”
To achieve his dream of playing college football, McCabe was a regular in the weight room and has added about 35 pounds since his freshman season.
“I worked out five times a week — twice a day sometimes — in trying to get bigger, stronger and faster,” said McCabe, whose personal best in the squat and the dead lift is 500 pounds. “This year, I worked a lot on my technique and stuff and different pass moves and getting off blocks and tackling.”
“A lot of work went into this. My dream was to play college football. It’s kind of surreal right now.”
He said he was thinking he might get some offers about now, but was caught off guard when Iowa State became his first offer after the third week of last season.
“I was thinking of having a great season and then having a great junior offseason and hoping schools might start talking to me around February or right now,” McCabe said.
McCabe, who recorded 68 tackles and 9 ½ sacks as a junior, is well liked by CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who’s entering his 38th year covering the national scene.
“Gavin is strong, fast and an aggressive defensive lineman,” Lemming said. “He’s a three-star plus prospect.”
Anderson, a Chicago native, is good friends with Marist Coach Pat Dunne.
“They knew each other before football,” McCabe said. “[Dunne] thinks really high of Coach Anderson.”
Schools are telling McCabe he could play defensive end or tackle. The Hogs like him at end.
“He [Anderson] said right now they see me as an outside,” he said.
A visit to Fayetteville is in the works.
“I would be stupid to pass up an opportunity to visit a school like that,” McCabe said. “That’s for sure something I want to do for spring break or before summer starts.”
Not being familiar with Arkansas, he and his parents brushed up.
“My parents and I sat down at the computer and started looking at different stuff,” he said. “We looked at the different majors and how big the school was and what they offer.”
McCabe has a 4.20 grade-point average and is considering majoring in business. He noticed the Sam M. Walton College of Business is among the best in the nation.
“I’ve been doing a lot of research, and it’s one of the best,” McCabe said. “It’s awesome.”
El Dorado power forward Daniel Gafford, who has signed to play basketball at Arkansas, topped 10 points and 10 rebounds in a game for the 27th time in 30 games this season when he had 34 points, 26 rebounds and 8 blocked shots in a 91-78 victory over Texarkana to the final of the 6A-West Conference Tournament on Saturday night.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Gafford, 6-11, 220, ranked 11th nationally in double-doubles by maxpreps. com, 10th in rebounds per game and fourth in blocks per game.
Before Saturday’s game, he was averaging 17.1 points, 15.9 rebounds, 7.7 blocks, 1.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game.
E-mail Richard Davenport at