Short Take: Catching Up With Danny McGrath
by Scott Veith
TSL Extra, Issue #7

Virginia Tech's wrestling team could use a 275 pound high school district champ from central Virginia. Unfortunately for the wrestlers, this district champ will be strapping on the pads for the Tech football team next year.

Danny McGrath, a 6'2" guard from Herndon, VA, will bring the mentality of a wrestler to the Tech O-Line next year. He chose Tech over Virginia, Penn State, Maryland, Notre Dame and others.

"Tech's program is on the rise," McGrath said. "I want to be part of a team that just keeps getting better and stays at the top."

The lineman started his high school career as a two sport athlete, participating in football and baseball. Classmates and teammates convinced him to go out for the wrestling team his junior year, and his mat career skyrocketed.

His senior season, the wrestling squad finished with a district championship and was sixth in their region. McGrath was 22-6 on the year and won the district tournament as well.

"I think I just got used to the pressure of wrestling," McGrath said. "It's a lot of pressure, especially as the heavyweight. A lot of times, the match comes down to you. I liked it."

Although he made no mention of trying to wrestle in addition to playing football at Tech, don't rule the possibility out just yet. He said he's bored when he doesn't have a full schedule. And he said rather candidly that three sports have kept him in shape over the past two years.

"I like playing three sports," McGrath said. It keeps me active. It keeps me from being fat and lazy"

McGrath was a three year starter at offensive guard in high school and spent time on the defensive line as a junior and senior. Like many high school linemen, McGrath played nearly every play of his senior season, save the kick-off and kick return units.

But with a three-sport schedule on top of a busy high school social life, the questions about being prepared for college football arise. College offensive lineman need to be strong from day one to avoid being lost in the wash.

McGrath says don't worry. He's devised a plan to take 90 minutes out of his day at high school to hit the weights. He gave up a study hall and gym class to get an-hour-and-a-half in the weight room.

"My bench is up to 380, he said." And I'm squatting 460, so I'm doing O.K."

Not bad for a kid who, among three sports, has played over 60 games since September. By the way, his baseball team starts playoffs this weekend. They'll need the big first baseman to continue the sweet swing that has earned him a pair of home runs and over 20 RBI this year.

Despite the workout schedule and the natural athleticism, McGrath said he'll probably redshirt next year. He'd like to get his bench over 400 and his 40-yard dash time under 5.0 seconds before he's competing against athletes from Miami, Boston College and Virginia.

McGrath said he's ready to get to campus. He's been committed to Tech for nearly two years and he's been excited about joining his new teammates since the day he signed.

"This (football) season, I was already signed, so I was matched up against the best guy every week," McGrath said. "They always wanted to challenge the Tech kid."

Get used to it, Danny. There's plenty more where that came from.



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