McKinley at the Coliseum

Javon McKinley has been to USC several times for various events, but Saturday was his first chance to see the 2015 edition of the Trojans football team play at the Coliseum.

Corona (Calif.) Centennial wide receiver Javon McKinley knows the rigors of high tempo, no huddle football, so his visit to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Saturday for USC spring practice came with a discerning eye.

“Looking at the depth, they don’t have many receivers from what I see,” said McKinley. “They run practice a lot like we do with my team.

“Everything is at a real quick pace and they have time limits on each drill before they move on to the next. It’s similar in what we do at Centennial.

They quick pace and 90-degree heat in March got to some of the Trojan football players Saturday. Riverside City College transfer Isaac Whitney was one player visibly struggling to keep up with the offense’s tempo.

“You just have to have the heart and push through it,” said McKinley. “We probably have more depth than USC at receiver, but for certain drills, we might only have two people.

“You get reps back-to-back-to-back-to-back… and you just have to push through. At receiver, it’s one of the hardest job conditioning wise during practice running routes back and forth.”

While USC still emerges from a roster with limited scholarship players because of sanctions, the offensive tempo of the Trojans has yet to match the blistering pace of Centennial. However, the merging of pro-style concepts with a no huddle scheme does intrigue McKinley.

“With my size, the coached think I can play outside or inside because 6-foot-2 is good for both,” said McKinley. “Coach Martin thinks with my skill set I could perform really well.

“We watched some film together and he said I have a good memory because I retained a lot of information when we were on the field. He said I would work well within their offense learning the plays fast and catching on.”

McKinley has scholarship offers from various conferences nationwide, and with a commitment date scheduled for after his senior season, the process has months to play out.

But as an attentive listener and proactive recruit, his visit to USC Saturday was far from just a drop in the bucket.

“The visit meant a lot to me because I got to see how a practice is run in college,” said McKinley. “Most of it is the same thing we have in high school.

“Coaches get mad when players are doing what they’re supposed to do. Like with Isaac, that was his second week practicing, so he was kind of out there struggling trying to pick up the offense.

“Tee told me he wanted to see where he was mentally, so he was extra hard on him. He told me he isn’t usually that hard on his guys being just Isaac’s second week, but he wanted to see where he was mentally.”

In that exchange during seven-on-seven drills, Whitney stayed in the lineup and caught a touchdown pass the next play despite being fatigued. It was a good demonstration of McKinley’s reference to fighting through the fast pace of the offense.

Fast pace football is all McKinley knows, but he continues to take the recruiting process at a more gradual pace. In addition to visiting UCLA, McKinley plans to head out of state as well.

“I’m looking forward to visiting Notre Dame when I go out there for a seven-on-seven tournament in Chicago,” said McKinley. “I’m also looking forward to my visit to The U in Miami.

“The toward the summer in the middle of May, I’ll see Cal when I’m up in Oakland for the NFTC Combine since I missed the one down here.”

McKinley will unofficially visit Miami April 11 and Notre Dame April 18. McKinley has already taken trips to Oregon, Washington and Arizona State. He hopes to visit ASU in the summer for a seven-on-seven tournament.

The ability to see schools in person before his senior season does lend itself to thoughts of making an early decision on a college, but it also has the opposite effect.

“It makes things a little more confusing because I want to give every school a fair chance to recruit me,” said McKinley. “I want to give them the chance to show me how I fit in at their school and with their academic program.

“At the same time, it makes things simpler because it narrows down what you really like and gives you a chance to start making your top five for visits.”

By the time summer rolls around, McKinley does hope to have a specific number of schools he can focus on.

“I’m hoping to have a top 10 for the summer and then a top five during the season as I take my visits,” said McKinley. “Hopefully I’ll be ready to make a decision by the Army All-American Bowl.” Top Stories