State's Top Player Honored w/Army Game Invite

Central's James McKinney saw action for the first time this fall on Friday night against Male. At haltime the Hot 100 prospect was honored as a U.S. Army All-American. <br><br> <B>BONUS: Highlight Video Included</b>

After weeks of being forced to watch practice from the sideline and missing Central's first game due to a back injury, defensive lineman Louisville Male.

McKinney, who normally plays frequently on both sides of the ball, often lining up at tight end, spent the majority of his snaps on the defensive line, both at the end and at tackle.

"It feels good," McKinney said of his back. "I'm out of shape a little bit because I didn't get to practice."

While McKinney pushed himself to the limit in the 23-20 loss to Male, he made a couple of impressive plays, including a blocked kick and a forced fumble and recovery.

However, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound prospect saw double-teams for the majority of the evening.

"It's good that I see it because I'm used to working on the outside and I need to learn how to go against that," McKinney said.

Despite not being in full game condition, McKinney still drew rave reviews from Male head coach Bob Redman. "He's unreal..he's tough. He has been hurt and is a little out of shape right now, so he got a little tired, but he's as good as they come."

At halftime of the game, McKinney was honored as a U.S. Army All-American candidate and was presented with a jersey.

"It was nice and it is a great honor," explained McKinney, who participated in the event combine last winter. "I appreciate everything that the U.S. Army All-American Bowl has done for me."

McKinney will be a guest of the Louisville football program on Sunday and will be pulling for the hometown team because of his cousin and true freshman Steve McKinney.

"Let the best team win," said McKinney of Sunday's contest. "I have a cousin at U of L though, so I'm going to have to pull for my family."

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl features the top 78 high school players in the country and will be played on January 15, 2005 at the San Antonio Alamodome.

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  • A number of Cardinals were in attendance at the game, including former Male Bulldogs, Michael Bush, Montrell Jones, Matt Sanders, Sergio Spencer and Steve McKinney.
  • Former Cardinal and Male quarterback Chris Redman was also on hand.
  • Central junior Cory Peters is quickly making a name for himself. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive tackle is poised to be one of the top five prospects in the state next year.
  • Another Yellowjacket junior, defensive back Rico Neal is yet another Division I prospect to remember for next year.

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