Xavier McKinney is one of the state’s top juniors and committed to Alabama in September. The 4-star safety out of Georgia’s Roswell High School took a visit for the Alabama-LSU game and came away impressed.
“The game was crazy,” McKinney told DawgNation. “That was one that I really wanted to go see. I wanted to see what they were going to do against Leonard Fournette, and they did a great job of stopping him. I was really impressed with the defense.”
McKinney didn’t take the trip alone, however. He brought along some family members to get their opinion on his school of choice.
“I brought my mom, my uncle and my brother,” McKinney said. “My main focus was to get them up there so they could get a personal connection with coach (Nick) Saban and coach (Kirby) Smart.”
So what did his family think of the visit?
“They loved it,” McKinney said grinning. “Actually, my uncle is a big sports fan so he loved it. He likes Alabama a lot, and LSU, so he loved the atmosphere. My mom thought it would be a great fit for me and she was just looking out at the crowd and was like ‘In the next couple of years you’ll be here, and that’s amazing.’ She really loved it.”
That’s good news for Alabama fans. McKinney is rated as the state of Georgia’s No. 28 prospect and the No. 13 safety in the country. He said he’s really grown as a leader during his junior season. There’s one player McKinney said he watches closely, and it’s a name fans are familiar with.
“Cyrus Jones,” McKinney said. “Their best cornerback, I watch him. Whenever I go to the games, or I watch it on TV, I make sure I get a good look at what he’s doing on the field. I just want to see his technique and what he does.”
McKinney is already impacting games in the same way that Jones does. In Roswell’s first-round playoff game, the 4-star safety intercepted two passes and had a 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He was named SEC Country’s Defensive Recruit of the Week for his performance.
On the practice field, McKinney joked with teammates and showed a high amount of energy. He’s developing as a leader, and Roswell coach John Ford said McKinney’s effort level is one of the first things he noticed.
McKinney said his commitment to Alabama is solid, but he will take a trip to Clemson for the South Carolina game. Right now, though, McKinney is focused on the state playoffs.
“During the day, really all I can think about is practicing,” he said. “Trying to get better as a team so that hopefully we can get a good shot at winning state.”
William McFadden covers UGA recruiting for DawgNation and is an SEC multimedia reporter for SECCountry. Give him a follow on Twitter for sports news and opinions you probably won’t agree with.