DAY 21: KEFFER MCGEE. #21. NEVER FORGET.
For me personally, this topic was one the easiest to pick in the 100 Days of MSU Football Countdown. There isn't a #21 anywhere in the stat sheets or history books that is more appropriate.
On August 5th, 1997, just days before the start of MSU football practice, Keffer McGee died tragically in a pool accident at a Starvkille apartment complex. I was ten years old at the time, but I still think about it every time I drive by the place. I only knew Keffer from watching him on the football field, but by all accounts was a nice, smart guy (three time All-SEC Academic Honor Roll), and team leader. Keffer was young, only 22.
McGee redshirted in his first fall as a Bulldog in 1993. The next season he played sparingly behind Michael Davis and Kevin Bouie, patiently waiting for his turn at tailback. In 1995, Keffer finally got his shot and took off with it. He rushed for 1,072 yards and 13 TDs during his breakout sophomore season. The next year, Keffer looked like he was going to rush to the top of the Mississippi State record books. #21 rushed for 481 yards (1st in the SEC and 3rd in the nation) in the first two and a half games, but tore ligaments in his knee during third game. Despite the tough injury, McGee was running full speed in the spring of 1997 and was expected to start for the Bulldogs in the fall.
After Keffer's death, the players and coaches did a great job of making sure that we would "never forget." When J.J. Johnson, the junior college running back who stated that he came to MSU because he wanted to play with McGee, started finding the end zone, he would flash 2-1 with his hands as a tribute to his teammate. #21 was everywhere. Painted on the field, patches on the jerseys, stickers on the helmet...they even kept his locker in tact. Jackie Sherrill and the Bulldogs dedicated the 1998 season (you know, the one where they made it to the SEC Championship game) to Keffer. Since his death in 1997, no MSU player has worn the #21 and that's not likely to change in the near future.
(video thanks to sfslickdawg / YouTube)
#21. Never Forget.