The 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl is more than just a game to Shaun McGee, a four-star defensive end/outside linebacker from Snellville (Ga.) Brookwood.
Shaun McGee committed to Georgia this summer.
"My dad was a Marine," McGee said. "He fought in the Gulf War and everything."
For McGee, the honor of being selected to the game, which takes place at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., at 6 p.m. (PST) on Jan. 4, 2013, was somewhat of a surprise because he feels as though he always has flown under the radar. The fact McGee, a Georgia commit expected to play outside linebacker in college, didn't become a starter at Brookwood until midway through his junior season and spends most of his time in the trenches, probably hasn't helped.
"Last year, I played defensive end, I played fullback, tight end … I was all over the field," McGee said. "This year, I'm playing defensive end. I guess that's maybe one of the reasons I don't get a lot of publicity. But I try not to pay attention to all that. I just let my work do the talking. It feels good to get some recognition. It shows the work is paying off."
The 6-feet-3, 230-pound McGee has been a Dawgs commit since July. He earned his Georgia offer after an excellent showing at the program's DawgNight camp at Sanford Stadium.
Upon getting that offer, McGee admitted he was "ready to commit" on the spot.
But instead, he decided to wait, and did so on the advice of Bulldogs coach Mark Richt.
"He was saying he wanted me to make sure it was a decision I wanted to make," McGee recalled.
Three days later, McGee was back in Athens, Ga., and that's when he made his pledge, choosing Georgia over offers from several other programs.
"I wanted to give my mom a chance to come up and see the campus," he said. "I had already been up there twice."
Nothing is certain in recruiting until the ink dries on the Letter-of-intent, but McGee said he is about as firm to Georgia as he can get. Asked if he would consider visiting other schools, he replied, "Not now and probably not ever."
McGee doesn't suspect the transition to linebacker in college will be difficult.
"When I went to their camp, I did most of that over the summer," McGee said. "I played in coverage and that stuff doesn't seem like it's too hard. But I just want to perfect it."
These days, McGee often is decked out in Bulldogs gear.
"Right now, I have like seven Georgia hats," he said. "It's like my whole hat rack. I also bought a couple of these shorts, hoodies, shirts and stuff like that. I'm probably going to get even more for Christmas from my family."
McGee lives with his mother, Cindy McLean. That was the first person he called upon learning he would be a Semper Fidelis All-American. But little did McGee know McLean learned the news while he was in school.
The next step was to reach his father, Damon McGee, who lives in Cincinnati.
"When I called him, he was pretty exited about it," McGee said. "He said he was going to the game. He was telling me about [his experience in the Gulf War]. He was really educating me. I didn't know the game was with the Marines. On top of that, it's played in California, which is where his dad lives. So I've got family out there. They're planning on going to the game, too. I think it's going to be an awesome experience."