Elite 11 Watch: Ga. star Johnathon McCrary

Vanderbilt commit Johnathon McCrary of Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.) has thrown a combined 52 touchdown passes over the past two seasons. Tom Hauck

Throughout this offseason, we’ll spotlight Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week we profile Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.) signal-caller Johnathon McCrary.

There’s coveted recruits. And then there’s Johnathon McCrary.

One of the most hyped athletes in the Southeast, the Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.) junior signal-caller was on the must-have list of schools across the country. In all, more than 40 schools offered McCrary a scholarship offer.

It’s easy to see why. During his sophomore campaign, McCrary threw for 3,345 yards and 25 touchdowns. And this past fall, he was just as impressive, tossing for nearly 2,700 yards and 27 scores.

But after all the schools came calling, McCrary opted to commit to Vanderbilt in February. Now he’s got his sights set on having a big summer, which includes the Elite 11 competition, and hopefully chasing a state championship.

The young quarterback stopped to chat with us recently about offseason workouts, the allure of Vandy and the chase for a title.

ESPNHS: How’s the offseason going? What sorts of things are you doing?

McCrary: I’m trying to grind, really. I’m doing three-a-days and I’m trying to get ready for next season.

ESPNHS: Three-a-days? That sounds tough. What sorts of things are you doing?

McCrary: Well, I wake up at about 4:30 every morning. I get to school at around 6, and I work out for an hour and a half. Then I head to class. Then there’s another workout, usually more weight training, and then I go to class again for a while. Then if it’s track season, I work out with them, doing sprints, or I’ll just hit the weight room again. Then I go home. And if it’s football season, it’s film study before bed.

ESPNHS: Film study before bed? You must dream of football all night.

McCrary: I am always thinking about it. Sometimes when I’m in class, I’m sitting there playing out scenarios in my head. It feels great when you start really learning the game. I’ve got a whole lot to learn, still, but I’m doing better than I did last year.

ESPNHS: So with these three-a-days, are you trying to gain weight? Get stronger?

McCrary: It’s more mental than anything, actually. I figure that most players can’t do three-a-days. I figure I won’t ever be the biggest guy, but I’ll be the best guy mentally.

ESPNHS: You’ve committed to Vanderbilt. What made that the right choice for you?

McCrary: They have a lot to offer. Every week you play against the best in the nation in the SEC. You can get a top-flight education there. It doesn’t get any better than that. And it’s close to home. They were really sincere about what they said about me. They said I was really the only quarterback they recruited, and I figured, heck, if you’re going to put your neck out there for me, I can put my neck on the line for you by committing here.

ESPNHS: Tell me a little bit about what you’re looking forward to about the Elite 11 competition.

McCrary: Well I want to do it, and I want to win. It’s a great competition, and I love competition. But I don’t think it’s everything. When you put pads on, it’s a different story. When you’ve got the pads on and a guy’s out there trying to get after you and you dodge him and then you make a play, that’s when you know you’re going to be a good football player.

ESPNHS: What’s one thing you’re really looking forward to learning at Elite 11?

McCrary: Everything, really. I just want to get the knowledge, and they have coaches there who have great knowledge. I’m trying to use it all to my advantage, and I’m looking forward to making some great relationships with the other guys there.

ESPNHS: Lastly, tell us a little about your senior season. What are you looking forward to most?

McCrary: Trying to win a championship. Everybody on my team this year is trying to win. It’s a great thing to have under your belt before you go away to college. Last year, right before the playoffs, some of the guys on my team weren’t really focused. You could see it in their eyes. But this year we have a chance to actually be the best. My whole line is hungry this year. Nothing’s going to get in our way. This year, everybody’s ready.

School: Cedar Grove (Ellenwood, Ga.)

Position: QB

Class: 2013

College: Vanderbilt

2011 Team Record: 7-4 (lost in first round of Class AAA playoffs)

2011 Stats

Yards: 2,643

TD: 27

INT: 9