By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 1997
“Reggie McGrew is considered by many at the University of Florida to have the potential of being their best defensive
The quote above is quite a statement considering the wealth of talent produced throughout Gator history. Reggie had an incredible prep career and was recognized as one of the nation’s elite defensive linemen in 1994. He was named to the prestigious Parade All-America Team and to the Bluechip Illustrated’s All-America Dream Team. Reggie was also ranked as the top defensive lineman in the nation by SuperPrep and he was rare three-time first-team All-State (2A) Selection. During the summer after graduation, Reggie was named to Florida’s Super Seniors Team that met Georgia’s prep All-Stars. His high school coach was his father, Taylor McGrew.
“I trained a lot in high school,” said Reggie, “and I read the BFS Journal.” Reggie’s best Bench in high school was 410, best Power Clean 300 while running a 4.7 at 6-2, 265 pounds. He could also dunk a basketball. Reggie worked hard in the classroom and achieved a 3.2 GPA
Reggie red-shirted his first year at Florida but then last year, as a red-shirt freshman, he saw action in 12 games with 10 starts for 437 plays. Reggie also started in the 1997 Sugar Bowl. Sporting News named him to the 1996 Freshman All-America Team. Reggie was also named as the Gators Outstanding Freshman.
Reggie loves it at Florida and says, “This is where defense players want to play. We want to make things happen. We are the ones doing the attacking, not the other way around.”
The strength and weight gains made by Reggie have been significant. He now Bench Presses 500 and Power Cleans 340 at 6-2, 291 pounds. Dunking a basketball is now easier even with the added weight. Reggie has a 32-inch Vertical Jump from a stand. In addition to football and his strength and conditioning program, Reggie has earned a 2.8 overall GPA and is majoring in Criminal Justice.
Looking back at his high school days Reggie reflected, “It was tough on me at first to play for my Dad during my 9th grade year. I thought maybe he was expecting too much but then I realized he just wanted me to reach my potential.”
Reggie advises high school athletes to try and stay healthy. “Stay with the weights,” says Reggie. “I like to challenge myself. For example, if we are supposed to do Dumbbell Presses with 150 pounds for 4 reps, I always get more reps. It is important to push yourself. When you get satisfied with yourself, that’s when you stop getting better.”
Reggie completely abstains from drugs and alcohol. “I don’t touch either one. Football and drugs or alcohol don’t mix. You just can’t reach your potential. I have never had one drop of beer. It was a choice. I have always tried to surround myself with people who have some values. All I have to do here at Florida is say ‘No thanks’ and that is the end of it. As far as steroids, no one has ever approached me on that.”
A good attitude, Reggie believes, is necessary in being truly successful and states, “Whatever your goal is, keep pushing through. You may have some hard times but you keep on pushing. My family has been important in my success but you need to have faith both spiritually and in yourself. Always do the best you can. Stay positive during negative times. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t.”
We thank Coach Schmidt for all his help on this article and thank Reggie for being such a great positive role model by his Upper Limit example.