The TSSAA’s dead period was imminent, but that wouldn’t interfere with the excitement of the Collierville summer football camp.
In fact, the local youth who attended likely called the late June event not to be missed.
One of the instructors was senior defensive lineman Jaden McKinney, who at 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds couldn’t be missed.
“All of the players who helped out at our youth camp did a terrific job,” Collierville football coach Joe Rocconi said, “But Jaden McKinney was like a rock star to all those kids. And not just because that he was tall, not just because he was a recruited player.
“You could tell it was important to him to spend time with these kids, to give back and to promote the program.”
The convincing part
Her family’s move from Moscow, Tennessee, to Collierville occurred in the fourth grade. It was a necessary action as far as athletics are concerned.
“I always wanted to play football, but in Moscow there was never a team to play with until you entered college,” said McKinney, No. 8 in The Commercial Appeal’s Dandy Dozen. , a collection of college football’s top prospects. for the newspaper-chosen Memphis-area class of 2023.
McKinney is a three-star defensive lineman and the No. 43 prospect in the state. Its offerings include Ball State, Florida State, Memphis and Western Kentucky.
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When he was 12, he brought home football papers to show his parents, Joseph and Cynthia.
“At first my mom, she didn’t want me to play because it was too dangerous,” McKinney said. “But she ended up letting me play and she didn’t regret it.”
Cynthia said: “He’s proven himself and I’m proud of his consistency. Seeing the joy it brings her is really what brings me joy.
McKinney has played in all 12 games for Collierville in 2021, including a perfect 10-0 regular season. He recorded 23 total tackles, three sacks and one interception.
A strong choice
Joseph didn’t have the opportunity to play sports growing up, so the football bug didn’t come from him.
“Our school didn’t even have a football team,” he says. “Jaden started playing basketball. He was trying to play both. One summer he was all over the place, so he was told he had to make a decision.
Of course, he was going to listen to his father. He was also going to listen to the Lord.
“Coach Rocconi always believed that I was going to be a great player,” Jaden said, “but my parents – they engraved it in me. They are people of prayer. They always pray for me, and when I started getting fat and everything… in the spring, at the beginning of my 11th year, that’s when I got my first offer from Florida State Coach sent my film to a bunch of schools – and that’s where my name started to take off.
“I would like to gain an extra inch. I feel like that will come as I get older and grow. Otherwise I’m fine. I feel like my talent can make up for that.
The 3-star prospect, according to 247Sports, has offers from Memphis, Ball State and Western Kentucky.
“I’m just going to say I’m committing soon,” he said. ” End of August.
“The (recruitment process) is cool, but it’s also overwhelming, because it’s your future, and you have to pick the right school.”
Ahead of his big decision day, it’s all football all the time as the Dragons’ season opener against visiting Wooddale fast approaches.
“I saw him working with freshmen this summer,” Rocconi said. “I’ve seen him work with younger guys in his position – and that’s what makes the difference. It’s also what builds chemistry, so I’m really proud of him for that.
“He loves football,” Cynthia added. “To see how it drives him and motivates him is just a proud moment. To have that much passion for something, it really keeps him grounded.