Orange (Calif.) Lutheran safety Brandon McKinney has been interested in USC since he was a kid growing up. The Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Matt Leinart teams solidified the Trojans as a fixture on the family television.
“In the Reggie Bush days winning back-to-back national championships, it was always USC in my house,” McKinney said.
Now McKinney is wondering if that family television might one day feature him in cardinal and gold. McKinney attended USC’s Elite Trojan Day last month and got an opportunity to talk with the coaches and explore the university in further detail.
“I really never went to go see the campus, so when I went to the Junior Day I got to see more of the campus and I really liked it. It was cool, nice weather.”
The coaching staff told the 6-foot-1, 193-pound four-star safety they liked his film, particularly his ability and willingness to be physical both in the pass and run games. He has spoken with new USC defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford multiple times. McKinney said Bradford plans to come back out to Orange Lutheran later in the spring to check in and chat some more.
“He likes me. He likes the film,” McKinney said. “He’s a little bit different, but I like it. He seems like a cool guy to be around and not just a mean coach who is always on you, but he seems like a cool guy.”
At the Elite Trojan Invite, McKinney said Bradford went over what he likes to do with his defensive backs and what he’s looking for in recruits. Bradford’s scheme is a little bit different than previous defensive backs coach Keith Heyward, but McKinney doesn’t have a preference.
“I'm just trying to get on the field anyway, any how, you know. Ultimately, the best is going to play, so I'll just go in there and compete.”
McKinney is the top-ranked safety in California and the 12th best at the position in the country, but he has not yet been offered by USC. He does hold Pac-12 offers from Arizona State, California, UCLA, Utah, Washington and grabbed an offer from Colorado on Tuesday. He also said he’s been hearing a lot from Notre Dame, Duke, Oregon and USC.
Playing with the B2G Five-Star Blue 7-on-7 team, McKinney gets plenty of practice reps against some of the top receivers in the country with Joseph Lewis and Jalen Hall on the offensive side. He also has to face off against a solid set of tight ends, including four-star Jimmy Jaggers.
“It's always good to go against the best, the best on the West Coast. That's going to get you better,” McKinney said. “We like to fire each other up because we're all just trying to be the best. When you're all trying to be the best and just push each other it's ultimately going to be pretty good.”
His 7-on-7 teammates are helping McKinney work toward his offseason goals that focus on improving his technique as well as his physical abilities.
“I’m playing more man, so I cn be more physical on the man coverage and just fly around the coverage. I’m trying to reach like 200 [pounds] by the end of spring ball and improve my 40 so I get faster on my breaks.”
Check out Brandon McKinney highlights from his junior season: