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
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
“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
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
“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
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
“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
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.”
McKinley at the Coliseum
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