Bainbridge-Guilford graduate Willie McGinnis has reached the next level in his football career. Following his high school graduation, McGinnis was signed by the University of Rhode Island where he played four seasons and earned second-team all-league honors in the Colonial Athletic Association as a defensive lineman. McGinnis had his sights set on the NFL, but injured his knee a week before his pro day workout at URI.
Two seasons removed from his collegiate football career, McGinnis is playing football again on the professional level. No, not the NFL, but the Arena Football League. McGinnis was signed by the Pittsburgh Power, and played in his first game last week, a 64-33 loss to the Utah Blaze. According to the Rhode Island athletics site, 8,390 fans attended the game.
McGinnis told his collegiate alma mater’s website that he was fortunate to have a great support system at home, who watched him rehab his injury and work himself back into playing shape. “One person I am thankful for the most is my brother (Chris),” McGinnis said in the URI website article. “All of it allowed me to push myself beyond where I felt I could go. My understanding of success is that it’s a joint effort. No one person succeeds solely on their own accord, so to them, I say when I rise, we rise.”
The mechanics of Arena Football are similar to every level of football, but the dimensions of the field are about half the size of an NFL field, and teams align with eight players instead of 11. The speed of the game, too, is much faster with an emphasis on the passing game. “There are a number of rules changes that I am adjusting too,” McGinnis said in the article. “But when it comes down to it, it’s just football.”
McGinnis was a star player for B-G/Afton during his high school playing days, and was a two-time Evening Sun All-Star at linebacker. He has played football most of his life, and he said he is thankful to continue his football journey. “I couldn’t imagine myself not playing this game, and not going out on my own terms,” McGinnis said
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