During his years at ECU, former offensive lineman and team captain Garrett McGhin was often the heart and soul of the Pirates. He wore his emotions on his sleeve and said things exactly how he felt about them, and often kept things in a good perspective.
McGhin embraced ECU as much as anyone, and its rivalries. Remember when ECU played UNC in the second week of the 2018 season and McGhin didn’t hold back on his feelings about the Tar Heels.
“I hate them,” Mcghin said last September. “Growing up in Florida, I hated them even when Florida State was playing them. I hate them now, I hate them even more now because they always think they’re better than us. Even when we beat them they were still talking crap. Seems like we can never get respect from anybody, and that’s kind of what I’ve grown up with. Grown up with adversity my entire life so I take that into every single game, especially the Tar Heels.”
McGhin also had moving words at the end of the season after ECU was blown out by NC State to end the season. It’s always been clear how much the program and being a Pirate has meant to him.
“Imagine taking everything you’ve worked for and having somebody rip it out of your chest and throw it on the ground. It almost makes you feel like you don’t matter. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through. I pray no one in this locker room has to go out the way I had to go out,” McGhin said after the loss in December.
While saying that any day you come out to Dowdy-Ficklen is “a great day”, It’s still no surprise then that McGhin was able to keep things in perspective when thinking about how ECU’s pro day Thursday could be his last time on the field of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, or how he was sure it wouldn’t be.
“It’s kind of surreal but I try to think of all the positives. I know this isn’t my last time I’m gonna be here, I’m definitely gonna be back as a fan and there’s no telling what’s gonna happen in the future, coaching or otherwise. This is home away from home for me and it always will be home for me and this definitely will not be my last time out here on this field,” Mcghin said.
McGhin, like his teammate Trevon Brown also said Thursday, and like so many other football players who love the game, is open to playing in any league he can and not just the NFL. McGhin had no problem talking at length about his passion for football and how he will keep with it moving forward.
“I have such a passion for this game of football and as long as my body is able to put up with it I’ll play as long as I can. It’s a blessing to be able to play this sport and there’s so many people out there who would love to be in the position I’m in. I’m definitely not one of those NFL or bust guys, as long as I have the passion for it and I’m doing it for the right reasons and I’m not somebody just going out there and chasing the dollar sign then I’m gonna keep playing but the second it turns into that I’m gonna walk away because this game deserves so much more respect than that. I’ll play as long as I can.”
As far how he performed in his pro day, McGhin said he felt like the day went very well for him and he was pleased with how everything went. Out of everything NFL scouts ask of players at pro day, McGhin said his biggest focus was leaving no doubt with whatever it is he did out there.
“You train for these past three months just to give everything you got and I didn’t leave anything out there. I left it all on the field, gave everything I have on bench, broad all that good stuff so. That was my main focus to leave no doubt on the field,” McGhin said.
McGhin said he spoke with a scout from the Texans, Rams, Dolphins among others. A common refrain from scouts to McGhin was how they loved his movement and versatility. Being athletic for his size and being able to play multiple positions on the offensive line was a plus.
“Versatility is key in the NFL so being able to change positions and change sides in general is very key so that’s what they were impressed with,” McGhin said.
McGhin has had a very interesting situation while training for the NFL. McGhin said he went to Atlanta to train with Chip Smith. His living situation was the interesting part. He lived with a lot of North Carolina guys, NCSU, UNC, A&T. He also lived with a player from UCF. ECU lost to UCF, State and A&T this past season but defeated UNC.
“We had a lot of arguments in that house,” McGhin said.
McGhin played most of his seasons at ECU under former head coach Scottie Montgomery. Since then, Mike Houston has become the head coach and brought many familiar faces back to Greenville on his staff. McGhin has been able to talk some with Houston, and the Tallahassee, Fla native was actually recruited out of high school by offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler when he was at FIU.
“I’m looking forward to sticking my face in the coaches offices and being able to meet everybody because once a Pirate always a Pirate and you always welcome in new Pirates with open arms,” McGhin said.
McGhin is a big fan of WWE, and joked around with reporters on Thursday about how WWE founder Vince McMahon is an ECU alum. McGhin said that if instead of a football opportunity, the WWE came calling trying to recruit him to wrestling he would keep an open mind to it.
“I would definitely give it a shot. It’s funny because I actually dressed up as Roman Reigns for Halloween and got a lot of compliments on that stuff. I got the hair I got the size and all that stuff so at the end of the day I’m gonna do whatever makes me happy, if that’s something I would do and enjoy then I’d keep doing it,” McGhin said.
But as usual McGhin ended his talk with reporters by doing what he always has down. After joking about the WWE, McGhin became serious when talking about what may come in the future. He gives credit to what he believes in, and he keeps things in perspective.
“There’s no telling what’s gonna happen but being in a college I’ve gotten to do so many different experiences. I’m gonna follow God’s plan and do whatever makes me happy because at the end of the day that’s what matters most.”