Josh McCoy’s biggest jump at York Comprehensive High School wasn’t to catch a football while crossing an opposing secondary.
The senior’s greatest leap came in his SAT score, which shot up over 600 points in two years thanks to determination and an SAT prep course. That enabled him to qualify for college athletics through the NCAA Eligility Center and Wednesday he signed a football scholarship with The Citadel.
“I knew I had to work hard to bring that up,” McCoy said, “and finally I did.”
The disappointment from his first stab at the SAT spurred his future success. His parents and coaches encouraged and helped him along the way.
“He was determined that he wanted to do better on his SATs, so we took him to the program and that’s what he actually did,” said Wanda McCoy, Josh’s mother. “He wants to have a bright future for himself.”
Football was never the hard part. York coach Bobby Carroll said that McCoy has power-clean lifted 275 pounds, a strong achievement for a wide receiver. He led the Cougars in catches with 64 grabs for 673 yards and six touchdowns, showing the same willingness to graft that raised his academic profile, on the football field.
“He’s an extremely hard-working kid, he worked hard academically to get prepared for this,” said Carroll, who has sent 22 kids to college football in his three years at the school. “Great kid, great work ethic and I wish we had a whole lot more like him.”
The Cougar standout also considered Western Carolina, Campbell, Newberry and Charleston Southern but his visit to The Citadel two weeks ago sealed his commitment. He met new head coach Mike Houston during the trip.
“I like him. He sounds like he knows what he’s doing. He’s the man with the plan,” McCoy said about his future coach.
The Bulldogs’ coaching staff mentioned using McCoy, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, as a safety.
“It’s gonna be a change, but I’ll adjust to it,” he said.
No one at Wednesday’s signing ceremony in the York library seemed too concerned about the unusually spartan lifestyle that The Citadel offers. Instead, there was a realization of opportunity, of a life ahead.
“I’m very excited for him,” said Wanda McCoy. “It will give him a little more independence and make him man-up more. He’s kind of laid-back so it will make him a little more aggressive.”
Belying his onfield aggression, McCoy is a pretty shy kid. But he also once was a struggling test-taker, before making a 1090 on his final SAT attempt. At The Citadel, McCoy now has an even brighter venue for change.
“I feel very comfortable,” he said. “I’m excited, I can’t wait.”
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T