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McGhee leaving Bobcats to join Texans of the NFL

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DeNarius McGhee has worked closely with quarterbacks from the Atlantic Coast Conference before. Now he will get a chance to observe one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the ACC at the highest level of football.

McGhee, a former Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year and assistant football coach at Montana State, has accepted a to be determined offensive position with the Houston Texans. Back home in his native Lone Star State — he spent his high school years in Euless outside of Dallas — McGhee will get a chance to see Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson frequently.

Watson is an alum of ACC powerhouse Clemson. McGhee spent two seasons at North Carolina State before returning to his alma mater.

Skyline Sports confirmed McGhee’s move from Jeff Choate’s coaching staff at MSU to the NFL on Tuesday afternoon through multiple sources with direct knowledge of the transition. Montana State confirmed McGhee’s departure from the football coaching staff at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday.

“DeNarius did very good work in a number of roles on our staff,” Choate said in an MSU press release. “He brought energy and a tireless work ethic every day, and his personality and passion are infectious. This is an exciting opportunity, and I wish him the best.”

McGhee’s departure comes exactly a week after offensive coordinator Matt Miller took the wide receiver coaching position at Boise State, his alma mater.

McGhee indicated that the title of the position hasn’t been finalized. The former Bobcat All-America and two-time Big Sky MVP departs after three seasons at his alma mater, where he coached running backs the last two seasons. In 2017, McGhee coached quarterbacks, the position he played at a memorable level during his playing career at MSU between 2009 and 2013.

The competitive and effusively energetic 28-year-old took a graduate assistant position at Florida Atlantic under former MSU offensive coordinator Brian Wrightin 2014. He held an offensive quality control position at North Carolina State in the ACC on Dave Doern’s staff in 2015 and 2016.

With the Wolfpack, McGhee got a chance to work closely with offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz, a coach with a reputation as one of the best young offensive minds in the country. As the head coach at Appalachian State last season, Drinkwitz led the Mountaineers to a 12-1 record and a No. 18 ranking in the final AP poll. Drinkwitz, who got his first FBS coordinator job at Arkansas State in 2013 before spending 2014 and 2015 at Boise State, took the head coaching job at Missouri in December.

In 2017, McGhee returned to his alma mater as the quarterbacks coach for the Bobcats. He helped mentor electric yet sporadic signal caller Chris Murray. As a sophomore, Murray led the team and finished second in the league with 1,124 rushing yards. He scored 10 touchdowns on the ground but managed to complete just 51.5 percent of his passes for 1,597 yards (145.2 per game) and 15 passing scores.

Over the last two seasons, McGhee has coached running backs. In 2018, Isaiah Ifanse became the first Bobcat true freshman to surpass 1,000 yards. Last season, three different Bobcat running backs rushed for at least 427 yards, including senior Logan Jones finishing with 915 yards and eight touchdowns for a rushing attack that led the league at 258.2 yards per game.

McGhee has also served as MSU’s recruiting coordinator for the past year and a half.

The Texans finished the 2019 season 10-6, won the AFC South, and beat the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs before losing to Kansas City in the Divisional round.

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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