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October 1, 2012

McCrary is a pioneer

MORE: U.S. Army All-American Bowl roster

There haven't been a lot of players to suit up at Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove High School with the skill set of quarterback Johnathon McCrary. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound signal-caller epitomizes the term "dual-threat" with his terrific combination of size, speed an throwing ability.

But while McCrary is clearly a different caliber of player, he still wanted to do something that no player at Cedar Grove had ever done -- earn a spot on the Army All-American Game roster.

After officially accepting his jersey in front of family, friends and teammates on Monday, McCrary has achieved his goal of making school history.

"Not only am I the first from my school, I'm a pioneer," McCrary said. "No one can ever come along and say they're the first to earn this honor."

McCrary said he credits an attitude adjustment and a commitment to hard work for the main reasons he's achieved success both on the field and in the classroom.

"I've been working hard to get to this point," McCrary said. "My main goal right now is helping my team get better every week and making sure that I'm ready for the All-American Game because I want to go into it in top shape."

With many of the nation's top players participating in the All-American Game every year, McCrary said he's well aware of what being added to the roster means. However, just because he's considered one of the top talents in the country, doesn't mean he's resting on his laurels.

"I just know I have to keep working and stay humble," McCrary said. "And I know all the stuff I've done will continue to pay off."

While he was hotly pursued following his junior season at Cedar Grove, McCrary quickly made a decision on where he wanted to play college football, committing to Vanderbilt back in February.

He's yet to budge from his commitment and, other than his visit for the Commodores game against Florida on Oct. 13, he won't be visiting any other schools.

McCrary said one of the main reasons he chose Vanderbilt was because of the honest approach of coach James Franklin and he wouldn't feel right if he did anything other than return the favor to his future coach.

"Going through the recruiting process can be one of the toughest things you face," McCrary said. "You have so many people pulling you in different directions and telling you want you want to hear but at Vanderbilt they were honest and told me the truth and that's something I really appreciate."

When he committed, McCrary was the first member of VU's 2013 class. Now, eight months later, the Commodores have the 16th best class in the country and are on pace of have the highest-rated class in school history.

"I think they have a lot of quality guys on the team now that have a lot of things they can teach us," McCrary said. "The recruits coming in are just going to add to that. We're going to be a part of building something great, and we're lucky to be a part of the program."

While he'll have to wait to get on campus at Vanderbilt, McCrary has his sites on helping Cedar Grove make more history, this time as a team.

"We got off to a slow start but we're turning it around," he said. "Once you lose people are going to doubt you but I'm the quarterback and I have to stay level and deal with the adversity and try to lead this team to the playoffs."



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