State of the Hogs: Sleepy Cool

Davyon McKinney turned heads with an interception in Thursday's practice. The redshirt freshman cornerback showed he hasn't lost his ball skills.

It says Davyon McKinney in the program, but he's been "Sleepy" to most everyone in Forrest City for as long as he can remember.

There is nothing sleepy about the way McKinney plays. He came to Arkansas last August because of Bobby Petrino's reputation for churning out high quality wideouts. But he's in the mix at cornerback these days.

McKinney made THE play in Thursday's football practice on the second day of spring drills. And he looked just like a big-time wideout. The 6-3, 185-pound redshirt freshman put his body on Cobi Hamilton as a deep pass dropped into their reach and then came up with the ball as they went to the ground together.

"I just tried to jam him at the line and then go get the ball," McKinney said. "Cobi is like our number one guy and I love going against him. We work out together. Me and him like going against each other."

McKinney didn't make every play over the last two days. The wideouts beat the defensive backs for their share of deep routes. But McKinney gets better every time he goes on the field. It's obvious he's a competitor.

He's excited to be at cornerback. He said he didn't mind when coaches asked him to give defense a try after the first week of two-a-days when he was getting a look on both sides of the ball.

"He could have been a very good wide receiver," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "Obviously, he could have played there for us. But our coaches liked the way he hit. He's tall for a corner and that's a nice plus. And he has great ball skills."

I'd say yes to all of that. The hitting part hasn't happened so far this spring. The pads won't be added for another week. There are three days in spring drills without pads. The first two were this week. The last will be the Friday night before the spring game. The Hogs will be in full pads in their next spring practice, on Tuesday, March 27. They will take next week off for spring break.

"I love the hitting," McKinney said. "That comes next. I look forward to that."

That's probably why the Hogs have McKinney switching sides from last fall. He was mostly on the field corner side. He's playing mainly at boundary corner now.

"Boundary is where the hitting happens," he said. "I love that part of it. That's one of the reasons I'm glad I'm not at receiver anymore. I played both ways in high school and I came here knowing that I could end up on either side. I thought it would probably be on offense. But at receiver, you never get to hit anyone. So this is cool."

That's what he said when the coaches told him about the trial run in August at cornerback. They asked him to try it for the fall and then they'd think about his future.

"I was cool with it," he said. "Really, I just took a look at the lists at receiver and the lists at cornerback. There were a lot more names at receiver. The lines at corner were much shorter. I figured I'd get on the field quicker at cornerback."

McKinney is with the second team, but there are plenty of reps in practice.

"Yeah, it's high intensity," he said. "That's the way I like it. Our offense is going to get us ready for the deep ball and there's going to be lots of running. That's all we've done the last two days."

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