It wasn’t an anomaly for a player to start all three years for Bruce Carey during his 13 years as the Bridgeport Indians football coach. It was, however, rare. And it said plenty about the skill and ability of the player that had that distinction.
One of those players plowed his trade at Wayne Jamison Field and started as a sophomore on defense and then became a two-way starter the next two years was standout Jamin McCue. It wasn’t any single thing that McCue was excellent at that landed him in the #27 spot and, to date, the highest non-first team member to date in the 40 for 40 series. Rather, it was that he did everything well, and he did them all over the field.
“He was one of Bridgeport’s true slash-type players. He just played everywhere and wherever he played he did the job,” an analyst who helped shape the list said.
Need proof? While he was steady as a defensive back, it was on offense that McCue played just about every position possible outside of the offensive line and quarterback. As a senior, he played upback, slot, fullback, tailback and would occasionally split out.
Even more impressive is that he was more than just a capable receiver. With Adam Klenk in the quarterback position and possessing a solid
arm, Carey opted to occasionally utilize the connection in more than one game. During his senior year, McCue hauled in 21 catches for 196 yards. Since 1997, only three other receivers have had a season of taking in more than 20 receptions.
McCue also was more than a capable runner. He collected three 100 yard games during his time at BHS, including teaming up with Daniel Hill in a game with Preston where both runners crossed the 100-yard plateau. In that Preston outing his senior year, McCue finished with 128 yards and Hill added 106.
“I know that Jamin had good speed and, really, was just a complete football player. It’s no exaggeration to say that he was everywhere on the field his senior year and his overall numbers including receptions and yards were pretty phenomenal that year. I’m pretty sure Bruce just had a whole lot of confidence in him,” the analyst said.
Carey most certainly had confidence in McCue. He not only brought a well-rounded skill set to the Indians’ football cupboard, but he was also easy to work with on the sidelines.
“He was one of the most coachable kids we ever had. He just did everything well and when you throw into the mix that this is one of the best kids you could ever coach, you have a really good player,” Carey said.
Carey said he thinks back to McCue when anyone asks him about the character of a player on any team he coaches. Along with recalling just what type of individual McCue was, he recalls a certain incident when Carey was actually asked to vouch for the player’s character.
“You know, I’m not positive, but I think he had some type of summer job or some type of employment with the FBI and they came down and asked me a character question about Jamin,” said Carey. “I kept telling the guy what a good kid he was and he just kept asking the same type of questions over and over. Finally, I said ‘Look, if he and I were the same age I can assure you he wouldn’t be hanging around with me.’ I think he got the point because he thanked me, shook my hand and left.”
Carey also said McCue’s value directly led to a win in one game his senior season. With Preston looking to tie its game with Bridgeport on a late extra point kick, McCue – who not surprisingly was a special teams’ standout – busted through and blocked the kick.
“The one thing about Jamin that you can’t say about a lot of players is that he just always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Not everyone noticed that, but the coaching staff sure did,” Carey said.
Apparently, other coaching staffs noticed it as well; as did sports writers throughout West Virginia. Although McCue wasn’t first team, he was the Class AAA defensive captain of the All State second team. He was also the captain of the first team defensive unit of the All-Harrison County squad, while being a first team All-Big 10 Conference member.
The Indians finished McCue’s senior season with a 9-3 record. Included in that win total was one of the biggest road wins in the program’s history. The Tribe went into Cabell County and upended Huntington in the first round of the playoffs by a 20-12 score. Many folks had predicted the Highlanders as a favorite to win it all that year.
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Jamin McCue in the Indians' win against Lewis County during McCue's senior season. Bottom photo shows McCue battling for yardage in the mud as a senior vs. Robert C. Byrd in a disappointing 27-23 setback to the Eagles. Photos in this article are courtesy of the Bridgeport High School journalism department and teacher Mrs. Alice Rowe. Connect-Bridgeport would like to thank Mrs. Rowe for her cooperation in assisting with the 40 for 40 series and providing archives necessary to move the project forward. Information regarding number of letters earned, where listed, based on photos from former programs involving returning letter winners.
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