Four-star safety Xavier McKinney will commit to the school of his choice on January 1 at the Under Armour All-America Game. The Campus Insiders staff gave its predictions on where the state of Georgia’s third-ranked safety will end up.
I know guys like Dylan Moses have kept their feet on the collective pedal, trying to get McKinney to re-join Alabama’s class. But I think it’s too late. Clemson can offer some early reps, and I believe he’ll end up playing for Dabo Swinney rather than Nick Saban. However, it certainly won’t be an easy decision for the former Alabama commit.
McKinney once pledge to Alabama before backing off in July and reopening his recruitment. Since then, Clemson has jumped to the top of the race for the 4-star defensive back. It’s going to be tough to say no to the juggernaut that is the Crimson Tide, but McKinney has a better chance of making his own name with the Tigers. He’ll put on a Clemson hat and remain true to that commitment.
I just see there being too much of a backlog in Alabama right now for McKinney to rejoin the Crimson Tide’s class. Minkah Fitzpatrick will still be around, as will Ronnie Harrison, and maybe even Marlon Humphrey (if McKinney were to slide out to the cornerback position, and Humphrey turns down the NFL). At least in Clemson, Jadar Johnson is leaving, and so is Cordrea Tankersley. Also working in Clemson’s favor is that Dabo Swinney and Brent Venables have proven just as able as Nick Saban and Jeremy Pruitt in sending DBs into the NFL. A clearer path to early playing time takes the Roswell, Georgia native two hours northeast to Death Valley.
Picking between Alabama and Clemson right now is the equivalent of Zack Morris having to choose between Kelly Kapowski and Lisa Turtle: there is no wrong answer, but it’s still a damn hard choice to make. In the end, I think McKinney decides to spend his collegiate career running down the hill and touching Howard’s Rock.
Note: Scout rankings and ratings used in this article.