Despite a commitment to Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and many others haven't slowed their pursuit of four-star Roswell (Ga.) safety Xavier McKinney. He's been to a few campuses of late, but Friday was an opportunity for him to get back to Tuscaloosa as the Crimson Tide opened up spring practice.
"I had a great time, I saw a lot of good things watching the practice, it was really organized," he said. "It moved fast and was pretty efficient, they had the one's with the three's and I think the two's with the four's, it was really fast-paced.
"Once they got into individual drills I went and watched the DBs, and the corners, like the footwork drills that they do. I saw a lot of good guys like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Marlon Humphrey, but nobody really stood out to me with the safeties area. I wanted to come up and be able to watch practice to see what they do. I want to start to learn the plays that they run. Next time I go, I'm going to sit down with coaches and go over basic plays and formations they have."
McKinney did spend about two hours with the coaching staff before heading back to Georgia, but the focus of those meetings was largely about keeping him crimson.
"I sat down with them for a long time, actually, like coach (Nick) Saban, coach (Derrick) Ansley and coach (Jeremy) Pruitt," he said. "I've had a lot of interaction with them, coach Ansley hits me up all the time, they've wanted me to get up there for a minute now. We actually stay in touch very often."
Saban's message was simple and clear to the sole safety on the 2017 commitment list to this point.
"We kind of just talked about how he didn't sign any safeties last class (2016) and he was just telling me I'm still top priority and he's glad I'm still committed," McKinney said. "They want me there, they were showing that.
"I don't think they have too much concern about other schools, and that's a good thing. I wouldn't want them being concerned with others and asking me about other visits, so when I go it's all about Alabama, they don't ask about other people."
Planning a return to Tuscaloosa with his mother in the near future, Roswell's coaches accompanied the rising-senior this time around. It was a trip that could prove vital in Alabama retaining the pledge.
"I'm still 100 percent, I needed that trip definitely," he said. "I thought they showed me a lot of love, they showed me that they still want me, something I expect to keep happening further in the future."
Next on the docket for the McKinney is The Opening Atlanta next Sunday, before a likely return trip to UGA and an initial visit to Notre Dame at some point as well.null