Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Miami's McGahee, Johnson entering draft

The Associated Press

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Miami running back Willis McGahee and wide receiver Andre Johnson will leave school early to enter the NFL draft.

"My unfulfilled dream is to play in the NFL," McGahee said in a statement released by family spokesman Sherman Anderson, The Miami Herald reported for Tuesday editions.

The sophomore had reconstructive knee surgery after tearing two ligaments in his left knee in Miami's 31-24 double overtime loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. He also said in the statement that one of his physicians, Dr. James Andrews, told him he would recover in time to play next season.

Eugene Poole, McGahee's brother, told The Palm Beach Post late Monday that McGahee was fulfilling a "childhood dream" by turning pro.

In his statement, McGahee also said he would not collect on a $2.5 million insurance policy he took out before the Fiesta Bowl.

The policy contains a clause that would allow McGahee to play in up to three college or pro football games without becoming void, Keith Lerner, the Gainesville insurance agent who wrote McGahee's policy, told The Herald.

It's unlikely McGahee will be able to run before next summer. The draft is in April.

McGahee set school records this season with 1,753 yards rushing and 28 touchdowns and was a first team All-American. He took over the starting job when Frank Gore injured his knee in March. Gore is expected to be healthy next season.

Johnson, a junior, told coach Larry Coker of his decision Monday morning.

"I just thought about it and felt like I was ready to move on," Johnson said. "It was a hard decision because I enjoyed playing college football. But I'm in a position where I can move on and moving on seemed to be the best decision for me."

Johnson caught 52 passes this season for 1,092 yards and nine touchdowns and was a third-team All-American.

With Johnson's departure, Miami returns only two receivers with extensive experience.

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