UCLA, Others Involved with Cal Commit

The 6-3, 245-pound athletic defensive end Takkaris McKinley is verbally committed to Cal, but is now looking at other schools...

Takkarist McKinley out of Richmond (Calif.) Kennedy, isn't your typical defensive end prospect. He has blazing speed, but he's also shown the physical aggression needed in the trenches to win battle. and his style of play has caught the eye of college recruiters.

McKinley gave his verbal pledge to Cal back in June, but said with the recent changes with the coaching staff he wants to keep his options open and has told Cal he'll be taking other trips.

It's all led to an official visit to Washington State this weekend.

"I'm excited to get up there, but I'm kind of scared as well because I've never been on a plane before (laugh). I'm looking forward to seeing the campus and checking out some of the facilities they have," McKinley said.

"Cal is a great school," McKinley said. "It's one of the best public universities in the United States. I was excited when I committed there, but when the coaching staff got fired, I was really disappointed because I had a great relationship with Coach Jeff Tedford and Coach Thompson (linebackers). I met with Coach Sonny Dykes yesterday (Tuesday) and he was excited to meet me. It's a solid commitment, but I still want to take other visits because you never know what could happen. "I'm going to WSU this weekend to see if they really want me or not. As of right now, I'd say they're in my top three. On a scale of 1-10 for my interest level in them, I'd give them an 8.5. I'm excited to get up there and see what they have to offer." McKinley was offered by San Diego State on Monday and is seeing increased interest from UCLA and Nevada. McKinley said he feels like both schools are close to offering and that he hopes to take official visits to both campuses. McKinley said his top three is Cal, WSU and Nevada, but if UCLA were to offer, the Bruins would move up near the top.

Most programs are recruiting McKinley as a defensive end, but coaches have also told him he could get a look at the BUCK LB position. McKinley said he is more of an edge rusher, but Mike Bobino, Kennedy Athletic Advisor and McKinley's mentor, told CF.C the athletic defenseman can do a little bit of everything.

"Athletically, he reminds of me former Tennessee Titan Jevon Kearse," Bobino said. "He's quick off the edge, but he's strong as well. He's a diamond in the rough, but he has a lot of football in him. We're from a small school, so we don't get a lot of exposure, but if he was at one of the big noticeable schools, there's no doubt in my mind he'd be ranked as one of the top players in the state. He's a kid that runs track for us and runs the 100 meters in 10.5 seconds at 245 pounds. He's just a freak athlete."

Bobino added that McKinley's personality and leadership skills would also make a big difference for his teammates while he's in college.

"I've been working with him for a long time and he's a great kid," Bobino said. "Academically he's on the deans list and he's a humble and soft spoken kid. If things work the way I think they will, I could see him playing in the NFL. There hasn't been a kid with his ability that's come out of Kennedy. He's not flashy, but he takes care of business and is a leader among his peers."

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