Xavier McKinney is one of the top players at the Elite Juniors Classic in metro Atlanta. The 4-star prospect out of Roswell High School (Ga.) committed to Alabama in September. Kirby Smart was a big reason why.
Now that Smart is the next coach at UGA, he’s made keeping McKinney in-state a priority. He said he heard from him right around Christmas.
“He’s coming at me pretty aggressively,” McKinney said. “Of course, he wants me to flip and go to Georgia. I know he wants me to go down there and get a visit. I do plan on doing that.”
McKinney, the nation’s no. 8 safety for 2017, said he will likely visit UGA soon. He never took a trip to UGA while he was an uncommitted recruit.
“Probably next month,” McKinney said. “I haven’t worked that out with my family yet. I have got to see what Georgia is like first. I don’t even know what it is like so once I go up there I will see what it is like and take it from there.”
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound safety said Smart is also coming hard after LeAnthony Williams, Jr. Williams, a 4-star cornerback, rates as the nation’s No. 15 cornerback for 2017.
McKinney said that he has yet to hear from new Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. He said that UGA recruiting coordinator and receivers coach Bryan McClendon — now a member of Will Muschamp’s South Carolina coaching staff — was his primary recruiter at UGA.
McKinney said the atmosphere was the main reason he committed to Alabama, and that wouldn’t change with Smart at UGA.
“It felt like a place where I was at home and I could spend the next four years playing football at,” McKinney said. “It is going to take a lot for another school to get my attention away from Alabama.”
Who is recruiting him hard right now aside from Smart? McKinney said he hasn’t heard from Alabama much, but that Clemson was still going after him intently. Florida is also now in the picture.
He put the Tigers as his No. 2 school at this time. He said UGA would currently be “No. 3 or No. 4” among his top schools.
“I really don’t know about UGA yet because I haven’t been up there yet,” McKinney said.
Jeff Sentell covers SEC recruiting for SECcountry.com, DawgNation.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to the SEC.