As a recent Morgan State University graduate, Ian McBorrough is starting the first steps in life after college. McBorrough, a linebacker for the Bears from 2016-2019, wasn’t selected in April’s NFL Draft and has been working out to stay in shape while sending resumes and scouring job sites for opportunities in finance and investment.
But McBorrough got a nice surprise wrap-up to his Morgan State career July 6, when he was named MEAC Male Student-Athlete of the Year for the 2019-20 school year. The award honors athletes who excel on and off the field. While at Morgan, McBorrough interned with Toyota, Vector Marketing and Sagamore Pendry Baltimore and volunteered at Holabird Elementary/Middle School.
“I was really excited and honored to win the award,” said McBorrough, a native of Essex, Md., and graduate of Eastern Tech. “It was a great award to bring the spotlight to Morgan State and wrap my time at Morgan, and it was great to know my hard work paid off on and off the field.”
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound McBorrough finished with a team-high 111 tackles for the Bears in 2019, also recording 11 tackles for loss and two sacks. He was named first-team All-MEAC for the second straight year, and his 253 tackles rank fifth in program history.
For first-year head coach Tyrone Wheatley, McBorrough was a player he could rely on both on and off the field. The first time he met McBorrough, Wheatley could tell he was one of the team leaders. Besides having a big role on the field, McBorrough was also a team captain during his junior and senior seasons.
“He has a presence about himself, a very secure — not cocky, not arrogant — a very secure presence about himself and I understood that right away,” Wheatley said. “I knew that this was going to be a young man I’m going to have to use to basically help me get this team corralled and understand the culture I’m trying to build.”
McBorrough was more of a quiet, lead-by-example type of leader than a vocal type, according to Wheatley. The team tracks how much film each player watches, and Wheatley said McBorrough watched the most of anyone on the team, which allowed him to make up for some of what he may lack in terms of physical tools.
While McBorrough wasn’t the fastest or the most mobile player, his high football IQ allowed him to understand opponents’ tendencies and be in the right place at the right time.
“What he lacked physically he brought mentally,” Wheatley said. “His mental acuity, his mental IQ on the field, he played the angles of the field really well, so understanding formations, understanding situational play. Just understanding where the ball is going to be allowed to play a lot faster than he truly was.”
For McBorrough, the hard work was just part of the process. He’s always been passionate about football and wanted to make the most of his opportunity at Morgan State.
“If you’re passionate about what you do it’s easier to do,” McBorrough said. “Just hard work and working hard benign passionate about what you’re doing makes the work a lot easier.”
McBorrough said a few NFL teams reached out to him to try to set up workouts, but he was unable to follow through due to the coronavirus pandemic. He’s been working out at gyms since they opened up, doing weightlifting and position drills while waiting for a call.
With his football career in limbo, McBorrough has been working on his other passions. He graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Morgan State’s Graves School of Business, and he wants to work in finance or investment.
He is especially interested in making money from what he calls “passive income,” which is money one can earn with little to no effort over time. That can include something as simple as investing in the stock market or something more challenging like building your own startup.
“I always had an interest in it,” McBorrough said. “I would say college when you learn about the business world and how you make money. It was being in school and how to get rich and having ownership of a lot of stuff.”
When he’s not working out, McBorrough spends the rest of the day on his computer sending out job applications. Though things are more uncertain than usual for recent college graduates due to the pandemic, Wheatley thinks McBorrough is prepared for the next chapter, whenever that opportunity may be.
“Going through the entry level, you have to think about it. He’s a freshman on the football field all over again and that’s the way it is in the business world or the next phase of your life,” Wheatley said. “He’s a freshman all over again, so he understands the hierarchy to climb and the work he has to do to get there. So it’s just hitting reset and starting all over again, which should be very simple for him.”
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Morgan State Athletics