VIDEO: McKinley Talks About Transition

SEP. 30 -- The newest Bruin, defensive Takkarist McKinley explains how he got here from the JC just a couple of weeks ago, and how the transition to the team and to the field has been...

Takkarist McKinley talked to the media Tuesday.

On the crazyness of the last couple of weeks:
It's a great feeling being here. I went to junior college, thinking I had two years, and ended up being a late qualifier, so I made the best decision and I wanted to be a Bruin. Everything is going so fast, Coach Mora, Coach Angus, Coach Tui, Coach Brick, they're trying to get me in and settle slow, with the playbook, and gradually build. It is a great feeling to be a Bruin. It is.

On when he realized he'd be a qualifier:
I didn't. Out of high school, I signed with Cal and there was confusion with the NCAA and Cal. It looked like I wasn't a qualifier, but there was some transcript issues from summer school classes, that they didn't add. Once those classes got added, my GPA rose up, I had all my core units and became a qualifier, I was ready to leave. Once it happened, I was really excited. When I took my unofficial visit here, I always knew, if I had to leave the next day, it would be UCLA.

On how much of a key Angus McClure:
Huge. He was the one who noticed it. He checked my NCAA planner, it didn't say I was a qualifier, it didn't say I was a non-qualifier, it said I had stuff missing. He helped me get on it with my high school, the district, the NCAA. It took a little while but eventually it ended up getting done and I'm a Bruin.

On how it transpired:
We didn't really know if I'd be a qualifier or not. It was 50-50. Once it got done, it was 'now we have to get you admitted to the school and get you situated to come down and be a Bruin.' I didn't know if it would happen, I was focusing on getting my knee right and my junior college. Once it happened, I got my clothes and headed right down here. I'm happy with it.

On if he was frustrated that he was initially not qualified:
Everything happens for a reason. Maybe it wasn't meant for me to go to Cal, maybe it was meant for me to be a Bruin. I just took it to the junior college, did the best I could, keep my grades up and took it from there. Now I have a second opportunity to play for UCLA, an amazing program and Coach Mora, and go from there.

On if any other coaches helped out from other schools:
Angus was really the one who knew about it. I kept it on the down low. Once it got out, that's when everyone was like 'Tak, what's going on?' A few coaches tried calling me and tried to get me in, but UCLA called and was like 'we're trying to get you in to school. We want you to come here bad.' I talked to my family and Angus about it and said I would be going with the Bruins.

On if there was loyalty to Angus for his work:
Yes. Yes sir. When I did take my unofficial visit here and to USC, I fell in love with the campus and the coaches and players. The environment, the school, it's a great place to be.

On getting his feet wet against Arizona State:
It's a whole new level. JC, high school, people compete. But here, they're much stronger, faster, athletic. I'm trying to get adjusted to the next level and do what I do.

On what he focused on most at his JC:
Everything, pass rush, run stopping, speed, strength, pretty much all the things I need to do being here. Now I have to get to work as soon as possible. The game is much stronger and faster. I'm trying to get adjusted and going from there.

On what he brings to the defense right now:
I'm still learning, but I'm trying to compete. Pretty much the whole D-Line, they help me out. It's more gap defending. It's not like last year with Barr rushing. I'm trying to help and bring as much intensity and hard work to get myself better and the team better. It's taking time but slowly getting better.

On if he'll get more playing time:
I don't know. I'm just showing up for practice and trying to compete and get ready each day.

On if he's more comfortable in a two-point stance:
I've been in a two-point since I've been playing football, but i'm trying 2-point and 4-point. I'm a track guy so I'm used to the 4-point stance. I'm just trying to get better overall, my speed, hands. Everything is going to be good. Get adjusted to the next level.

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