One thing Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr said made all the difference for Louisville Central High's James McKinney (6-4, 260, 2.7 GPA, 4.6 in the 40) as he decided whether or not to commit early to the Wolverines. "Coach Carr told me after the Ohio State game that if I committed and got hurt or something happened like that, the school wouldn't take away my scholarship," McKinney said. "None of the other schools were telling me that, and that's when I decided to commit."
McKinney pulled the trigger on Nov. 25 after attending the Michigan - Ohio State game the previous Saturday. He had also made the trip to Ann Arbor for the Michigan - Notre Dame game on Sept. 13. "It was unbelievable with all the fans. I just love the atmosphere at Michigan," McKinney said. "I also love that Ann Arbor is a great college town. I had a great time and I just knew it was the place for me. I also got to meet Desmond Howard after the Ohio State game, that was great."
The multi-talented athlete said he will play tight end at Michigan even though he plays just about everywhere for his team now. He is being recruited by Michigan defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann, but McKinney made the acquaintance of another Herrmann first. "I talked to coach Herrmann's dad first up at the Michigan camp this past summer," he said. It was shortly after the Michigan summer camp that McKinney received his offer from coach Carr. McKinney said he had offers from Notre Dame, Louisville, and Kentucky, as well as interest from Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Arizona State and a host of other big-time programs.
McKinney said coaches were impressed with his hands and coach Terry Malone even told him he had the best footwork he'd seen in years. "I've been watching Michigan football for years," McKinney said. "I really like the way Michigan uses their tight ends as a primary receiver. They've put a couple tight ends in the NFL recently."
GoBlueWolverine Magazine spoke with James' uncle, Neal McKinney, shortly after his nephew's announcement. He told us that he used to live in Ann Arbor and attended Pioneer and Huron High School's and still had friends in Ann Arbor that he kept in touch with. James told GBW he also has family on the Wolverines. "My cousin is Grant Mason, who just transferred from Stanford. I haven't told him I committed yet but he knew because I had told him I was probably going to do it."
McKinney said he's also become friends with Wolverine WR Braylon Edwards, whom he met through Mason. The Michigan connection is solid and he has no plans to intention of changing his mind, though he may take some other visits just to take in the experience.
He also said he will attend the U.S. Army camp during the New Year and has been invited to the Nike Summer Camps. He plans on majoring in computer information systems in college.
McKinney Talks About Commitment
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