Daletavius McGhee, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound safety from Ellenwood (GA) Cedar Grove, is the latest commitment for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Daletavius McGhee, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound safety from Ellenwood (GA) Cedar Grove, is the latest commitment for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. GopherHole.com caught up with Cedar Grove head coach Ray Bonner to learn the latest about his standout player’s decision.
Cedar Grove finished 7-4 and lost to the eventual state champions in the playoffs.
Gopher Hole: What kind of player is Minnesota getting?
Ray Bonner: They are getting a steal because he should be playing in the SEC.
Gopher Hole: What do you see as his strengths as a player?
Ray Bonner: His football savvy. He is a smart football player, plus he has great speed and he is a hitter.
Gopher Hole: What things do you think, like any high school player who is moving on to college, does he need to continue to improve on?
Ray Bonner: He needs to continue to work hard like he is now. He needs to continue to work hard. If he does that, they’ll have them a Big Ten player. I have sent kids off to college to the Big Ten and he is better than those guys. I have kids in the SEC and he is better than those guys. He is one of those guys who slipped through the cracks and all of a sudden at the end, everybody wanted him. He is a big-time player.
Gopher Hole: What others schools got involved in the end?
Ray Bonner: Va. Tech, Southern Miss, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State and North Carolina. In the end, they got in there and came in too late.
Gopher Hole: Why do you think that he slid under the radar?
Ray Bonner: Like a lot of people come in and they look at kids, we have an All-American here at this school every year. We are just focused on the kid that they say is the All-American. If the other kid is just as good, but they just don’t get the breaks that some kids get.
Gopher Hole: He has originally committed to Memphis and then later Louisiana Tech. What was the reason for the changes in where he thought he was headed?
Ray Bonner: I can’t tell you what makes crazy coaches opinions of a kid. I can’t tell you what makes them think like that. They just lost interest because they thought that they could get another kid on the team or they thought that they could get somebody better. We all do that and that is how this business is built. Everybody think that they are a guru on who can play and who can’t play. I just know that the ones that I sent off to play in college, they make it for four years and the ones that want to play pro, go on to play pro. I am speaking from being a coach in college (Bonner was a head coach at Alabama A&M and was an assistant at Texas Southern and Tennessee State). I just think that he has all the tools to become a great player in college and probably play at the next level.
Gopher Hole: How about your dealings with him just as a kid?
Ray Bonner: As a kid, great kid. He is going to do everything you ask him to do. I can remember when he was in the ninth grade, he sort of veered off a little bit and by the second semester of school, we had him on track. He has improved academically and as a person and that is the most important thing to me is the improvement as young men and do they improve academically? Football is a game to me.
Gopher Hole: How did Minnesota get involved with his recruitment?
Ray Bonner: Everybody has Hudl (a football recruiting database) now and I guess that they saw something that they liked and boom. But everybody in the country recruits this school. Like I said, we have had an All-American here every year in the last five years. One kid went to Oklahoma. One went to Georgia. One went to Tennessee. One went to Vanderbilt, so everybody is the country is going to come in through here. We’ve got one of the top players in the country for next year already (Bryson Allen-Williams, a junior linebacker who already has offers from USC, Alabama and Florida among others).
Gopher Hole: Did you know any of the Gopher football coaches before this?
Ray Bonner: No. I was recruited by Minnesota a long time ago myself. That was when Murray Warmath was the head coach, so you know how long ago that has been. I know about Minnesota and these kids nowadays, recruitment is 24/7 and is all over the world. They go everywhere to find players. This year alone, we had head coaches from USC, UCLA, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. This is Clayton Country. We have a lot of players. We will have more players out of this country that will sign scholarships than any other county in the state of Georgia.
Gopher Hole: Do you think the fact that he committed to Memphis and then Louisiana Tech hurt his recruitment a little bit because schools didn’t know where he was headed?
Ray Bonner: I think that when he committed to Memphis, everybody just backed off.
Gopher Hole: Was it more the schools changing their minds a little bit and deciding to recruit other player or him changing his mind?
Ray Bonner: Like I said, I don’t know. I wish I knew that because I am going through some things right now with other kids. The kids change their minds and those schools change their minds. I don’t love you as much as I used to type thing.
Gopher Hole: When did you first hear that Minnesota was recruiting Daletavius?
Ray Bonner: I guess it was back in December. They were on him and they dropped out and they came back and that type thing.
Gopher Hole: Has he talked to you much about a possible college major?
Ray Bonner: All I know is that I asked him if they had what he wanted to major in and he said that they did have what he wanted to major in at Minnesota.