When USC’s Director of High School Relations, Gavin Morris, asked Orange (Calif.) Lutheran four-star safety Brandon McKinney to give him a call, it seemed like just another of the endless stream of conversations during the recruiting process.
McKinney thought it was just another chat with a college recruiter.
“He didn’t tell me that [USC head coach Clay] Helton wanted to talk to me until I was on the phone,” McKinney said. “That’s when I started getting a little nervous and was like ‘Oh…maybe it could be big.’
“Ultimately it was. That was good.”
Helton spoke with McKinney briefly. "He said that he loves my film." Then Helton offered a coveted scholarship to USC — an offer McKinney had been hoping to receive for years.
“I was shocked, but excited. I was just really excited and blessed. I’ve always wanted this one. It’s pretty much a dream offer. It’s a big-time offer.”
“It’s USC and it’s a big name. The education is one of the best out there. They’ve been on the top for so long. That’s just a big-time school. Any time you get that opportunity, you know it’s going to be a good one.”
McKinney had planned to make an early commitment, but the offer from USC has caused him to take pause. Instead, he said he “might just hold it off until a little bit longer and make sure everything is right.”
“My idea was that if I get invited to the U.S. Army All-American game, I’m going to try to do it there. That’s where I’m at right now. I was thinking about doing it before the season, but I don’t know yet. I’m not sure.”
The top-ranked safety in California feels like he could fit in well with the Trojans at the position because of his combination of athleticism and willingness to come up and attack at the line of scrimmage.
“Their safeties are physical, but then athletic. They can fly around the ball, which I can do too. Being the athletic safety that I am, I can also fit in that defense.”
Check out Brandon McKinney's highlights from his junior year at Orange Lutheran: