Monday, February 6, 2012

KU football coaches: WR Justin McCay waiver-worthy

Receiver Justin McCay, a transfer from Oklahoma, listens as his teammates answer questions on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Receiver Justin McCay, a transfer from Oklahoma, listens as his teammates answer questions on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.



Receiver Justin McCay, a transfer from Oklahoma, listens as his teammates answer questions on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

By now, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis has said all he can say about the situation surrounding Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay, a wide receiver from Bishop Miege High who is appealing the NCAA for a hardship waiver that, if granted, would allow him to play at Kansas without sitting out a season.

“Because he has red-shirted for a year, if he were to win a hardship through his letter to the NCAA, that would allow him to have three years to play three,” said Weis of the 6-foot-3, 220-pound sophomore. “He is finishing his letter and sending that in, so we will see how the ruling goes. That is the only status that I can give at this time.”

Fortunately for KU fans, there’s someone on the KU coaching staff who can say a little more — offensive line coach Tim Grunhard, who coached McCay in high school.

Thursday morning, when Grunhard and the rest of Weis’ coaching staff sat down with the media for the first time, Grunhard shared his thoughts on McCay, whom he continually described as caring, genuine, loving and a great person.

“We’re hoping that he can play next year,” Grunhard said. “If you read the story and you read the letter and you read about some of the things he’s gone through in his life, I want to meet the NCAA compliance person that says no to him. Because if you say no to him, then obviously you don’t understand what’s so important to this kid and what a great person he is. We’re hoping it all works out.”

Although he stopped short of giving specific details about the content of McCay’s letter, Grunhard painted a picture of a young man having been through more in his first two decades of life than most people endure during far longer stretches of time.

“He’s had a rough go of it,” Grunhard said. “Here’s a kid that pretty much couch-surfed all through high school and never had a home. His father passed away going into his senior year. He’s down in Oklahoma. He had some family issues. I think he was homesick. He was red-shirted, and he lost that football instinct for a little bit. But he’s the same old Justin being back here.”

Grunhard attributed the light returning to McCay’s eyes to his ability to be around his family more often — even when it means being put in charge of taking care of his baby sisters — and the fact that he has been given a fresh start in football as well.

“I think football has been his escape for so many years, and he really thrives on that when he’s in the right situation,” Grunhard said. “He may have gone to Oklahoma for the wrong reasons, and it kind of snow-balled. He needs to build that back up, and he will.”

McCay, a former five-star prospect who participated in the U.S. Army All-American game as a senior at Bishop Miege, red-shirted during the 2010 season and played only sparingly last season. He appeared in three games for the Sooners and did not record any statistics.

When he met with the media a few weeks ago, the dynamic wide receiver, whom many have said could make a major impact on the KU offense right away, did not look or seem like a young man with a chip on his shoulder or someone who was bitter about the hand life had dealt him. Instead, he was everything Grunhard described him to be and, more than anything, he appeared happy to be sitting in Lawrence, wearing a KU shirt.

“Being close (to home) was a factor, and coach Weis and coach Grunhard were factors as well,” McCay said. “I’m glad I’m here. I’m not looking back, on it and I’m not mad I left or anything. I have a great opportunity here. I had to go with what my family and my heart needed. This was the best place for me.”


Ryan Lee 8 years ago

Justin, If you do have to sit out a year, remember that it is just a year to grow and enjoy life. Keep your noggin on straight (unlike my time there) and live to love Larry.

hawk316 8 years ago

Justin, I'm sure I speak for many of the KU faithful when I say that I'm so very glad you're a Jayhawk! I hope that your years in Lawrence and beyond will be filled with great joy, much success and God's richest blessings.

baldwinjhawk 8 years ago

So will West Virginia be visiting lawrence the last game of the season? That would be cool!

gardenjay 8 years ago

Welcome :)

Once again I will point out how meaningless the ESPN recruitment ranking system is, given how many factors they ignore. Why bother ranking football recruitment if you're not going to factor in the whole situation - this young man, Crist, Heaps - crimony!

Bangkok_Jayhawk 8 years ago

Hate to be the pessimist but this is the NCAA and they rule in some pretty amazing ways from time to time.

This is the same NCAA that... -Allows a situation where San Diego State is in the Big East -Denied former Jayhawk Eric Butler an extra year because apparently taking off a year of school to take care of your new born child only counts if you are a woman. -Promotes a system where an undefeated football team doesn't get a chance to play for the National Championship. -Continues to pretend they deal with armature sports even though my sources tell me money is involved. -Allow coaches to leave teams and coach new ones before the bowl season is over.

The right thing to do... Give McCay 3 years to play 3 seasons.

What they will probably do... Suspend him 5 games for having two upper case letters in his last name.

Laurence Cooley 8 years ago

ku didnt make a bcs bowl last year, it will be 7

lv_jhwk 8 years ago

The NCAA would be better off dealing with "armchair" sports than amateur contests, let alone "armature"!! (Just playin', BJ)

Rivethead 8 years ago

Props for mentioning Eric Butler. Biggest crime in NCAA history in my opinion.

Bee Bee 8 years ago


labbadabba 8 years ago

Actually, the NCAA has nothing to do with who plays in what conference and it does not promote a system where an undefeated football team doesn't get a chance to play for the National Championship. The NCAA, athletic conferences, and the BCS are all separate entities.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 8 years ago

Very true... My point should have the NCAA, athletic conferences, and the BCS all contribute to a broken system.

The_Real_Hawkman 8 years ago

My favorite is: Coaches can get a program on probation and then leave for more money at another school.

Andy Tweedy 8 years ago

How 'bout the time they suspended Steve Alford because his picture was used by a sorority to raise money for a girls' camp! GENIUS!!!

Brendan Connolly 8 years ago

It was Knight, not the NCAA that held him out. He wasn't sure of how they would rule, so held him out of a game that was fairly unimportant so it wouldn't be ruled they played with ineligible and would already be game served if it was ruled that way.

jhox 8 years ago

Given the pace the NCAA works at, he'll be lucky to have a decision by conference season.

Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope they do the right thing.

Andy Tweedy 8 years ago

Amen! They'll probably allow him 3 years to play 3, but won't announce their decision until the 8th week of the season!!!

troutsee 8 years ago

Speaking of conference time, is W. Va in the mix yet or not. I am assuming that things are still tied in a legal knot, making scheduling for the upcoming season impossible at this point.

It will be interesting to see the turnout for the spring game on 4-28. I am going to predict the largest turnout ever for a KU spring game, asumming that the weather cooperates.

lv_jhwk 8 years ago

WV cancelling its game with FSU is a strong indication that its inevitable that they end up in the B12. Why else the need to get rid of a noncon?

vd 8 years ago

I can't understand this. 1) He "couch surfed" through HS and never had a home. 2)He left OU cause he was homesick. 3) He has some "family issues".

How can you be homesick if you don't have a home? How is going to KU vs. OU going to help with numbers 1 and 3?

AaronLudy 8 years ago

he probably ment that he missed seeing family, friends or just being in kansas.....i got a u think about things before you post a dumb comment?

vd 8 years ago

Nice name calling. You are smart. Oops, another dumb post.

Bville Hawk 8 years ago

You can still have a family without having a house. Homesick usually refers to missing loved ones.

Jace FitzGibbon 8 years ago

uh you realize hes from the kansas area right? so going to ku makes him a lot closer than oklahoma....obviously he has family stuff that he doesnt want to be that far from.

ayyzee00 8 years ago

VD, his father died when he was 17, and even before that the man was extremely sick and pretty much unable to take care of Justin. He lived with friends and coaches the last year and a half before college. Most people never have the opportunity to get THAT close with friends and coaches; they became his family. He had aunts and uncles, sure, but they had their own struggles.

Justin went to OU because he thought he would be given more of an opportunity not he field, ERGO a better opportunity to get in the league so that he could provide for the family he did have left. it never happened. All he had was time, time to think about what he left in KC.

I don't know what's going on now with his family but I do know that Justin has the heart of an angel, and every choice he's made thus far has been for his family and himself.

if the NCAA doesn't give him this year to play, it'll be alright because he'll be working hard in the off time for the people he loves.

Jeff Coffman 8 years ago

I know coaches and the student can't really comment about the situation; however, can LJW actually send a reporter out and do some investigation, so we can read about it on their paper? It seems like they teed this one up, to spark our interest just enough to start googling it; however, I'd probably prefer to just read a little from a newspaper article with the information actually in the article.

Maybe that will be in an article later this week.

kesmithstl1 8 years ago

Let him play, let him play, let him play! I'll keep the chant going until he's cleared. Let him play, let him play. It worked for Tanner Boyle and the Bears. Let him play..............

JJHawq 8 years ago

thanks for the great article (as always) - he certainly seems extremely humble and grounded based on his twitter posts - which i know is not the best way to judge someone, but its all we have.

he wakes up every day thanking God (tweeting it) - which shows some character whether you are a believe or not. lots of these kids seem to wake up thinking THEY are God - so its refreshing to see someone who is thankful first.

Ervin O'Neal 8 years ago

“He is finishing his letter and sending that in, so we will see how the ruling goes. That is the only status that I can give at this time.”

Was this a recent comment? As mentioned earlier, given how long the NCAA can take on ruling on these matters, I'd be surprised that his letter was written and submitted the first week that he was on campus.

Bville Hawk 8 years ago

Matt??? No Tuesday football fix????? C'mon man, throw us a crumb. Please!!!

Tony Bandle 8 years ago

To any NCAA official who may happen to read this.. I know you all take a lot of criticism but you are sometimes faced with impossible decisions.

Justin's case is not one of them.

Please give this young man a second chance at Kansas, just as Kansas football is getting another chance with Charlei Wies. Let him be part of this "fresh start" that all of Kansas naton is going to be part of with this football program.

It's not's not is simply the right thing to do. Thanks.

j0hnb1aze 8 years ago

Join the Facebook group: I hate Jack Harry

justinryman 8 years ago

Maybe the NCAA is teaching him a lesson for leaving one school and going to another?

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