13.Mar.2011 Interview: Keith McGill

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My belief is that there's little to learn from interviewing recruits who have signed with Oregon State. The leap in knowledge will come from understanding why our coaching staff has been unable to land the big name prospects who have visited Corvallis. Keith McGill is a perfect example of such a player. McGill, a 4-star safety who narrowed his list to Oregon State and Utah before selecting the latter, was kind enough to shed some light on his recruitment. The transcript follows.

Keith,

First off, thanks for agreeing to share your firsthand, objective perspective with Beaver fans. Sometimes we go crazy wondering why we can't land elite, 4-star talent, so your interview might help answer that question.

From what I remember of your recruitment, playing time and depth chart were serious considerations. Being a Juco, this makes perfect sense. Was the depth chart at Utah more favorable than Oregon State's? Was that the #1 factor in choosing Utah, or were there other reasons?

No, playing time wasn't a factor anywhere. And Utah was more of a gamble if anything. I committed to Utah for family reasons. I was in a bad spot with either school. I was just as ready to be a Beaver just as much as a Ute…

Besides family atmosphere, what did you enjoy most about Oregon State? More specifically, was there anything you loved about the school that the coaches undersold?

I loved the school's history. They didn't understand how much I was willing to put on the line for that. Even though I had a great relationship with the coaches, it seemed to put of they were still trying to sell me on committing when I just wanted to be a part of them.

The Oregon media portrays Riley in a certain way, as a guy who tells recruits to "sleep on it" and never pressures for a signature. As fans, we get frustrated by this because we read every other Pac-10/12 program is out there selling their program aggressively. Did Riley's approach to recruiting come off to you as him not caring? Was the coach's laid back temperament at all a factor in your decision?

Not to me. I loved coach Riley and wish him the best of luck. I called him this season, and we've had several conversions, but I think from point of view from my dad's eyes he was a little laid back compared to other coaches, but that's what I liked about him.

Regarding Corvallis, how much of a factor were weather, co-eds, academic reputation, and the lack of city life? Was there anything OSU could have done to win your signature?

Well I loved the school and mm, maybe, but I don't think so because of the reasons I committed.

You visited on January 14th, which was one of the biggest recruiting weekends in school history. On your visit, did you get the sense that the other high profile recruits (Byron Moore, Todd Peat Jr) were enjoying their trips? Was there a chief complaint among the recruits? (You can be brutally honest–if they didn't like the rain, girls, etc, it would be great to say that so we know).

No I don't think so other than the rain. Lol.

Keith also added this thought in a separate note:

You should know I loved OS and saw very few flaws. Just like Utah it wasn't the coaches that failed. Salt Lake City is just more of a family environment coming from where I lived in California…

Overall, this was a pleasant first interview. Keith seemed honest and gave some good insight. The most interesting bit, in my opinion, is that Riley's demeanor didn't sit well with Keith's father. I imagine this is a common occurrence with "Type-A"/aggressive parents. It's also interesting that McGill loved the school's history. Seems like the coaches were not intuitive enough to pick up on that, and it cost them.

Anyway, I hope to do more of these interviews in the future and have a handful of inquiries out right now. If you guys have specific questions you'd like asked let me know.
 

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  • BeaverBill says:
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    Awesome Angry! Get more of these boy!

    Think of all the great recruits we’d have if Riley had someone aggressive on staff to handle recruiting… Riley could just play the good guy role. It sounds like that is the only thing missing… Keith liked everything else.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to do this!

  • osbeavs says:
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    Thank you for the post, it was very enjoyable to read. I hope that you do more of this kind of work. How do you do your interview requests? Do you e-mail the person a formal request followed by questions or are the questions included in the request e-mail? Do you think phone interviews would provide a different kind of answer (e.g. the person may stutter/hesitate on a question because they do not have time to create a prepared response)?

    I would like to see a direct question about why an athlete ultimately elects to attend another university over OSU (it may get indirectly answered through another line of questioning though). Also, potential ways that OSU could improve for future recruiting avenues. The information here is insightful but if we don’t improve we will still get 2nd place. In recruiting 2nd place means you are first loser and without a reward. I can tell you right now, no one remembers who finished 2nd in recruiting Tim Tebow. Finally, can you dig up what coaches were directly involved with each athlete’s recruitment and ask them about their styles. Coaches that I am particularly interested in are Newhouse, Banker, Heyward, Langsdorf and Gundy.

    Thank you for conducting the interview and extra thanks to Keith for his insightful comments and time. He is obviously a stand-up dude for spending the effort on a school he doesn’t attend, he obviously certainly doesn’t owe it to Beaver Nation.

  • mckalk says:
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    Am I reading this correct? He went to Utah for “family reasons”. Family can mean a lot of different things in Utah both on the positive and negative. I know that Kyle Whittingham is an agressive defensive minded coach who’s players seem to put it all out there for him. I think he is getting a nice reputation for sending hard-nosed players to the NFL. I would rather have Whittingham coaching me than Banker at this point.

  • mckalk says:
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    Also, good job Angry. Many athletes are boring, cliched interview subjects. I thought you asked direct, deftly phrased questions that garnered some interesting nuggets that support our concerns with OSU recruiting without putting McGill on the defensive. After all, if someone won’t talk there is no interview. That being said, I would have like to known what his favorite food is, LOL!

  • angry says:
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    Thanks. It was fun. I’ll do these so long as I find recruits willing to answer questions. I’ve got a dozen inquiries out.

    I’m not sure what Keith meant by “it seemed to put of they were still trying to sell me on committing”…I assume he meant to say “it seemed a put off”?? Can anyone decipher that line?

    • mckalk says:
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      It kind of sounds like he was put off by his recruiters “salespitching” him for too long, but if he was ready to committ then why didn’t he? Almost like they kept selling him, when he wanted their trust not the hype? In re-reading the interview, McGill was not 100% candid, but that is to be expected in these situations.

  • Warren says:
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    I just saw that Brian Norwood is a candidate for the opening position. I pray to god we land him. He’s abetter recruiter than everyone on our staff combined.

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    Angry — excellent idea to interview “the ones that got away”. As you say, lots to learn from this. And I liked the questions that you asked Keith.

    For what it is worth, here is another interview with Keith McGill: http://utah.scout.com/2/987671.html In this other interview, Keith suggests that a factor that favored Utah was “the coverage they play”. Maybe Keith prefers coverage schemes that allow DBs to turn and look for the ball?

    Some other possible questions to ask:

    (1) When considering OSU as a top football recruit, what did you find most attractive about the Beavers? On the other hand, what did you find least attractive?

    2) If you were running recruiting for the Beavers, what one thing would you change, in order to land more top recruits?

  • OS_Beaver says:
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    OSU has the longest rivalry west of the Mississippi with Oregon and we have been around since 1868. That is history we should be promoting. There is a special lore with OSU. We just need to get our fans and programs all at a higher level and expecting of more success. I want to be a top 4 Pac-12 team year in and year out and have basketball make some NCAA toruneys. We have to get the ole HIGH level os OSU pride back in gear! OSU is a good school and a neat and unique place. It does have alot of history and Terry Baker was a legend and a true national folk hero. Gary Payton was an incredible unique player who as a guard who amazing on offense but maybe even better known for his “Glove” defense. Get me a Pac-12 North football title in the next 3-4 years and I will see it as a good start. Anything less will be seem like we could be doing more. We need to start beating Oregon in football Civil Wars again.

  • sparkyd73 says:
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    Good post.

    I do think some of the questions were a bit leading. If your going to get candid responses, you may need to soften the tone and let these kids come up with their own feedback.

    You did however get this kid to give more than the canned answers and that is what made this interesting. Nice job.

  • OS_Beaver says:
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    Of these NCAA tourney selection committee members only 1 was really responsible for snubbing the Buffs..try to guess who? (Here’s a hint..he is a lame commish..the one who was supposed to champion their cause.)

    smith.5407@osu.edu, stan.morrison@ucr.edu, Jeffrey.Hathaway@uconn.edu, lynn.hickey@utsa.edu, Bobinski@xavier.edu, Dan@big12sports.com, DFullerton@bigskyconference.org, SOrsini@smu.edu, scott.barnes@usu.edu

    Colorado would be IN if they were still in the Big 12 next year. Beebe would have got them an 11 seed play-in game at minimum just like we got USC.

    Beebe thinks his little joke is a burn on CU and the future Pac-12. He realizes the perception of the two conferences will be important for years to come and doesn’t want the Pac-12 claiming another “winner” as Charlie Sheen would put it. So he tried to push the perception that CU “lacked tradition” by going along with their early schedule was too weak idea, so it seems like they won’t be missed at all and were subpar anyway, when he knows they “owned” KSU this year and deserved to be in and probably not even a bubble team according to many.

    It won’t matter, the Pac-12 will be seen as clearly the better conference for many years and decades to come.

  • osbeavs says:
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    On the topic of history, we should talk of the campus history as well. It may not necessarily interest athletes but it can help support the idea that this isn’t some new school breaking in on the scene. A few interesting notes about campus:

    1) The original building from 1868 is currently being restored and is actively used.
    2) The campus was designed by the same guy who worked on Yosemite and Central Park (maybe the National Mall too). It is designed in a park style. The campus has multiple quads and benches throughout while the buildings often don’t feature a true front entrance. Each side of a building is designed to look like an entrance so as to create an inviting feel.
    3) There is at least one of every tree native to the state of Oregon on campus.
    4) Weatherford Hall is the oldest operating dormitory this side of the mississippi.

    The history of athletics is also important and should certainly be established but maybe small factoids like these might help cement a student who is interested in the history of a school.

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