"I committed last night," McKinnon told Syracusefan.com Monday evening. "I'm real excited. I feel at home with the coaches and the players and the people. It's a great environment to be in."
The Syracuse staff was ecstatic not only with McKinnon's pledge, but also with his newfound bulk. He weighed in at 207 pounds, up from 190 at the end of football season.
"I've just been working out and I haven't been playing basketball or anything like that," he said.
McKinnon, a 5-foot-10 Jacksonville product who runs a 4.5-secon 40-yard-dash and rushed for 1,100 yards in eight games as a running back last season, will play strong safety. He said the coaching staff feels he has a good shot to get onto the field early on special teams and in the secondary.
He sat down with a few of the coaches and watched some film, in the process impressing the staff by calling out their plays.
"They liked my intelligence," he said.
And he liked their focus on academics in addition to football. After meeting with strength coaches and academic advisors and hanging out with some of the players, he meet with head coach Greg Robinson.
"I finished with the head coach. He wanted me to have a good impact on theteam, but he also wanted his players to succeed not only on the football field, but academically as well. That was really impressive," McKinnon said.
The Florida native said the cold weather doesn't bother him too much … although, he was relieved to hear that a new indoor practice facility is being built, he said, laughing. Of the Carrier Dome, he said, "It was nice, ‘cause I had only seen pictures and heard about it."
McKinnon, who shares a close relationship with former Cuse star Donovan Darius, seems to have all the makings of a big-time sleeper. He was scheduled to visit ACC champion Wake Forest this weekend, but has canceled the trip.
"I'm solid with my decision," he said.