By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Finding Mike McGlinchey on a football field isn’t exactly like combing over a “Where’s Waldo” sketch. The Notre Dame-bound Penn Charter senior standout is a very easy-to-recognize 6-foot-9, 275 pounds. The problem opposing teams have had this season when facing the Quakers is that McGlinchey is everywhere.
On offense, he’s lined up at center, both tackle positions, long snapped, played tight end (where he’s really emerging), been positioned in the slot as a receiver and even played quarterback, once throwing a pass. The only position he hasn’t played on offense is guard.
Defensively, he’s lined up inside as a nose tackle, defensive tackle, been a defensive end, was positioned as a stand-up linebacker and inside linebacker.
At Notre Dame, McGlinchey, the first cousin of Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan, also a Penn Charter graduate, is projected to play left offensive tackle at Notre Dame. But if he keeps catching passes at tight end, where he has five catches for 120 yards this season, and made four alone in a 27-20 loss to Malvern Prep last week, who knows?
McGlinchey began the season wearing No. 74, a lineman’s number. He now wears No. 44, so he can continue playing a variety of positions and tormenting opposing teams.
“In college, I’m obviously going to do what the coaches tell me to do, and take that same attitude to Notre Dame,” said McGlinchey, the oldest of six and whose mother is the sister of Ryans’ mom. “If they want me to play 10 different positions, that’s what I’ll do. I’m a football player, and it’s what it should be. Playing different positions and has given me the opportunities to do different things.
“It’s been a lot of fun. It is like you’re playing in your backyard and just playing football. The coaches want to move me around, and it gives the other team something to think about it. We’ve changed things up and it’s helped us against a great team like Malvern Prep.”
Penn Charter is 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the Inter-Academic League entering the Quakers’ 3 p.m. game Friday against visiting Haverford School, and its star, Pittsburgh-bound Matt Galambos.
Once again, as it’s been the whole season, it will be a high priority to find where McGlinchey is.
“He’s so versatile, and for such a big kid, he can play anything, quarterback, receiver,” Episcopal Academy lineman Jack Florio said. “Against us, he had a constant motor. He pours his heart out on the field. It’s why he deserves to go to Notre Dame, because he’s best football player I ever played against in high school. My favorite team is Notre Dame, too, so I can be a fan now that I don’t have to face him anymore. With his size, I can see him in the NFL one day. I can see him playing tight end at Notre Dame. He catches the ball like a receiver. He’s a genetic freak, and I mean that in a very good way.”
Regardless of the shifting and movement, Penn Charter coach Jeff Humble feels assured McGlinchey will be where Notre Dame projects him to be, even though McGlinchey may entertain thoughts of one day catching passes in the NFL from his famous cousin.
“To be honest, I think Mike can play tight end at the major college level, he can, but he is the prototypical left tackle,” Humble said. “I see him at left tackle at Notre Dame, but I won’t rule out the possibility of him playing something other than left tackle there. He’s all around the place for us this year. That’s been the fun part with it, and as coaches and a staff, we’ve even had him throw a pass. You should see him throw. There’s really not much he can’t do on a football field.”
McGlinchey and his family will be there at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, screaming for “Matty Ice,” rooting on his blood … “I used to be an Eagles’ fan, but we’ve always been a family first family, and Matt is my blood. One of our relatives becomes a part of that team, we become fans of that team. We were diehard Boston College fans, and now we’re diehard Atlanta Falcons’ fans. My family will all be there.”
McGlinchey shouldn’t be hard to find, either. Special players usually aren’t.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.