McKinney Talks About Visits

Lineman James McKinney of Louisville (Ky.) Central high school did not have a very good weekend. The four-star prospect was sent home from his visit by Louisville coaches, who said they were told that McKinney was saying bad things about the Louisville program. McKinney says it is all a misunderstanding and seems unsure what to do about recruiting right now. Read on for an update from Kyle Lamb on McKinney's thoughts on the visit and Ohio State.

Although James McKinney had a little more free time than he anticipated this weekend, he sure didn't have a chance for things to clear up much more.

McKinney, a 6-3 263-pound defensive lineman from Louisville (Central) Ky., visited Louisville this weekend, and some extenuating circumstances sent him packing for home on Saturday morning -- earlier than the Sunday afternoon he planned to return.

Having already visited Nebraska, Michigan, and Clemson, McKinney was on his fourth visit in Louisville when Bobby Petrino, the Cardinal's head coach, approached him and asked him to leave Saturday shortly before noon.

"It was definitely a misunderstanding or something," McKinney told Bucknuts on Sunday evening. "I don't really know what happened exactly, but I just know they (Louisville) said some players and recruits told them I was saying some bad things about the program. They said I was bad-mouthing Louisville."

"Honestly, why would I even do that? The players were saying that I said I was going to Michigan or something. Why would I take a visit if I knew I was going somewhere else? If I were going somewhere else, I wouldn't tell them on my visit, or anything. Michigan wasn't even my favorite visit for that matter," he added.

The abbreviated visit has left Louisville out of the running for McKinney, and has put the three teams he has visited (Nebraska, Clemson, and Michigan) in a tight race with Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Kentucky for his signature.

McKinney is still uncertain of who his fifth and final visit will be.

"Man, I just don't know," he said. "I don't have any idea where to begin, and I need to think about it some more. I already was having a tough time, but then this thing (with Louisville) happened. Now I've got to just think about it over the holidays and relax and figure things out."

Over the course of a year, McKinney has grown somewhat fond of Ohio State from what he's been told by Jamario O'Neal, a friend and Buckeye commitment.

The two became close last season at the Army High School All-Star game in San Antonio, and have maintained a friendship since.

Earlier in the week, McKinney said he liked Ohio State, but the rumored possibility of sanctions stemming from the Maurice Clarett ESPN saga has left him a bit apprehensive about the visit. Although it seems like Oklahoma has the inside track to his final visit, don't be so sure.

"I like Ohio State a lot, and I think that would be a cool place to play," McKinney noted. "They are definitely not ruled out by any means."

Although the coaching staff has not dealt with the matter with McKinney himself, others have gone out of their way to explain the situation. That list includes Buckeye commitment, Rob Schoenhoft -- a quarterback from Cincinnati.

"Robby Schoenhoft told me there wasn't any truth to all of that," McKinney explained. "He said it was just a bunch of allegations and old news, and that I shouldn't worry because Ohio State already had all that stuff looked into."

"I haven't really got to talk to the coaches, though. I haven't been able to ask them about all of that stuff," he added."

Thus far, no in-home visit has been scheduled with McKinney by the Ohio State coaching staff, nor has one been conducted. In the meantime, McKinney is left to decide who will get the final visit.

He did mention that even if he didn't visit Ohio State, since he has visited them unofficially, it wouldn't necessarily preclude them from getting him.

He was asked about having a leader, and then to handicap his visits.

"Well, my best visit was to Nebraska," he said. "But, as far as having a leader I guess I don't really have one right now. Not really even a slight favorite."

For right now, McKinney is just trying to put the weekend past him.

He wants everyone to realize, especially Louisville, that they were given a wrong impression about him. McKinney insists he didn't say anything about their program.

"I honestly wasn't saying anything bad about them at all," he reiterated. "It's all been crazy. I didn't say any of that stuff."

With the holidays, McKinney will have a little more time to clear things up -- before they get any murkier.

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