Wearing the green V with the blue stripe on the back of his Fresno State football helmet means a lot to defensive lineman Wyatt McBee.
Growing up in Firebaugh, 43 miles west of Fresno, McBee was often on the farm helping out his grandfather, John McBee, and family. It always been that way and still is.
When he completed his football career at Firebaugh High and Fresno City, he knew where he wanted to go: Fresno State.
That felt like me.
Fresno State defensive lineman Wyatt McBee on wearing the helmet with a green V on the back
“I just wanted to play here my whole life,” said the 6-foot-2, 280-pound senior. “I’ve always rooted for the Fresno State Bulldogs my whole life. Grew up watching them and got the green V on the back of the helmet. My family farms and it has to do with agriculture, and that felt like me.”
Fresno State started wearing the green V in the late 1990s as a symbol to the agricultural community of the central San Joaquin Valley.
The McBees are almond farmers and grow cotton.
“That’s what we do over there,” McBee said. “Once I wore (the helmet), I thought it was cool and represented the valley really well and represented my family well. I felt like it really hit home.”
Fresno State defensive line coach Pete Germano noticed what kind of person McBee is when he first met him.
“He’s a farmer, his family are farmers and the V is about the valley and we’re playing for the family, playing for people in the valley,” Germano said. “He’s one of those kids from the valley, so it means quite a bit. It means a lot to him to get to the stadium, and also means a lot to him to play in front of his home crowd.”
McBee flourished at Fresno City for two seasons and earned first-team All-Valley Conference honors, appearing in nine games as a sophomore in 2014, totaling 19 tackles – 11 solo.
Then it was off to Fresno State as a preferred walk-on. He played in three games last season.
This season, McBee has done well in fall camp, getting more reps after a slow start.
We can use him in a variety different ways.
Fresno State DL coach Pete Germano
“He’s really improved over the last week in terms of getting solid,” Germano said. “He’s done a good job pass rush wise. He’s been repping more now with the twos than he was with the threes. Part of it was I needed to take a look at the freshmen early in camp and see where they were at. People like Kevin Atkins, Elijah Piper and JC transfer Austin Vaimili. He knew going in I was getting them a look first. He never put his dobber down and never pouted.
“He just continued to work hard. … A local kid, great kid, team player. I love him to death and I think he battled his way the last week to week and a half that he can be used, and we can use him in a variety different ways.”
Part of it Germano said is “he’s mature and been around college football at Fresno City College and here.”
Whether he starts or come in as a reserve, McBee said he’ll be ready to play and wear the V with pride.
“Just keep working hard and know my assignments and be ready to go,” he said. “Whatever I can do help the team. If I can contribute in any way, that’s what I’m going to do.”