In-depth player analysis, quotes, recruiting recap and big picture implications for Notre Dame recruiting are broken down below in this commitment analysis of future Irish safety three-star Prentice McKinney hailing from Dallas, Texas.
Profile: Prentice McKinney
Location: Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff
Rank: Three-star, No. 34 safety
"McKinney is a big-bodied safety with length. He is perfectly suited to play in centerfield and his long stride just chews up ground. His speed is a bit deceiving because of the way he glides to the football, but when he gets moving in the right direction he can close quickly. He can be the deep safety valve, but is also effective in coming up against the run. He has the frame to play at or above 200 pounds without losing too much speed." – Scout.com national analyst Greg Powers
South Oak Cliff finished 2013 with a 14-2 record, falling in the third round of the playoffs. McKinney had eight interceptions, 69 solo tackles, 15 pass breakups, four fumbles and two fumbles recoveries on the year.
You'll find more player analysis in an in-depth film review still to come.
McKinney picked up first offer in October from Colorado State. Shortly after, Arkansas, Maryland, Nebraska and SMU followed suit. On Feb. 13, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Boise State extended offers. Three days later, Michigan offered, and a day before McKinney committed to Notre Dame, the Aggies of Texas A&M came through with an offer. He received entry-level interest from Texas, and he attended the Longhorns' junior day, but he does not (yet) hold a Texas offer.
McKinney told Irisheyes.com that Notre Dame was his leader on March 8, followed by Michigan, Oklahoma and Boise State, in that order.
Academics were the bottom line in McKinney's recruitment and commitment to Notre Dame. Future position coach and recruiter Kerry Cooks also played an integral role in landing McKinney, and the safety quickly established a relationship with Cooks from the onset.
McKinney also took junior day trips to Baylor and Oklahoma. He is visiting Notre Dame the weekend of April 12 with his parents.
"My parents encouraged me to commit, and I wanted to, so I did," McKinney said. "Everything about Notre Dame seemed right, and I was getting anxious because I really wanted to commit to them. I didn't want to wait any longer."
"I called Coach Cooks up tonight and committed," McKinney said. "He was very surprised. He was speechless. He said that he was really proud of me, and he was very excited to get the opportunity to coach me."
"Notre Dame has rich history and a big alumni base," McKinney said. "I talk every day with Joe Thomas, who actually played linebacker for Notre Dame. He's like my mentor with everything."
"Football is not going to always be there," McKinney said. "No matter how long you play or how short you play; football is not going to always be there. I look at the academics and the rankings (compared) with other schools, how they rank with the graduation of football players and all that. I look at the alumni and see what the history is about."
What this means for Notre Dame
Look for Notre Dame to take one more safety in this class, and two cornerbacks. The most likely prospects at safety as where it stands today are three-star Nicco Fertitta
of Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, who plans on visiting this summer, and four-star James Locke
of Beaumont (Texas) Central Senior.
Notre Dame and Kerry Cooks have offered nine defensive backs (three safeties and six corners) from Texas so far in 2015. Prospects like Locke, Ryan Newsome
(wide receiver), Jalen Guyton
(wide receiver) John Humphrey
(wide receiver), P.J. Mbanasor
(corner) and Jaylon Lane
(corner) are all high on the Irish.
In VanGorder's system, the defense will often show five defensive backs. The preliminary or "sub" package will be the nickel, a package that is not a synonym with "backup," as VanGorder views it. You'll see an increased emphasis on secondary recruiting, and the level of talent Notre Dame will land in that department will continue to rise, as a result of the reciprocated interest on the end of recruits who see opportunities for early playing time.
Notre Dame's safety depth in 2014
5th year – Austin Collinsworth
Seniors – Eilar Hardy
, John Turner
Juniors – Nicky Baratti
, Elijah Shumate
Sophomores – James Onwualu
Freshmen – Max Redfield
(RS) (projected starter), LB/SS Drue Tranquill