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McGinnis leads Rock Hill by hard-working example

August 12, 2018

Rock Hill High School fullback T.J. McGinnis switched from offensive tackle to fullback for the 2018 season.

PEDRO, Ohio — Rock Hill High School football players don’t make excuses, not with T.J. McGinnis on the team.

McGinnis doesn’t allow it, although he doesn’t say a word. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound fullback’s actions are motivation enough. Born without a right hand, McGinnis does everything any other player does, but better than most.

“It’s never really bothered me,” McGinnis said. “When I run the ball, I two-skin it (holds the ball between the inside of his forearms). I don’t really get the ball thrown to me much, but I can catch it. I mostly block.”

McGinnis blocks well. A converted offensive tackle, he is accustomed to pancaking defenders. The process, now, is a bit different with the position change.

“The speed of the game is different,” McGinnis said. “I have to block faster. It’s exhausting.”

Exhaustion is a byproduct of effort, which from McGinnis is in abundance.

“He’s a hard worker,” Redmen coach Mark Lutz said. “He hasn’t missed a day in the summertime in three years. He’s a weight-room warrior and does anything you ask of him.”

When a local church asked for help loading and unloading clothing for a project, McGinnis was one of the first people to arrive to help. That didn’t surprise Lutz.

“He puts in the extra work,” Lutz said. “He watches extra film. He’s a hard worker.”

McGinnis said he doesn’t understand the fuss about his intensity, but appreciates that coaches notice.

“I guess I was raised that way,” McGinnis said. “There’s no other way to be.”

McGinnis said he likes his team’s chances to contend for the Ohio Valley Conference championship, an opinion shared by many of the league’s coaches.

“We’re working hard and I’m proud of how far we’ve come,” McGinnis said. “We have everything in. I feel like we’re about midseason compared to last year.”

With two 1,000-yard rushers in Logan Hankins and Zak Adkins also in the backfield, McGinnis likely won’t have to carry the ball often. He said that’s fine with him, as he understands his job mainly is to open holes for the other backs.

The burly fullback gave up baseball to concentrate on football. A first baseman, McGinnis admires former major league pitcher Jim Abbott, who played from 1989 to 1999 despite being born with one hand.

“He’s my hero,”

McGinnis said. McGinnis said off the field he enjoys bowling. Knocking down pins or linebackers, either way, he gives it all he has.

“He’s a hard worker. He hasn’t missed a day in the summertime in three years. He’s a weight-room warrior and does anything you ask of him. ... He’s a hard worker.”

Mark Lutz

Rock Hill football coach

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