COLUMBUS, Ga. | Most of the students transferring into Carver High School, located here on the Georgia-Alabama line, are doing so because a family member was restationed to nearby Fort Benning.
Though his father is in the Army, when Quincy McKinney left New Jersey for Columbus following his freshman season in 2007, the military wasn’t the reason.
“My mom always wanted me to play college football,” McKinney said.
It wasn’t as much her goal to see her son play on Saturdays as it was to see him attend college. College football was the path that provided the means to see her son continue his education.
Less than a month from National Signing Day, McKinney is on the verge of seeing their dreams become reality. The 6-foot-4, 285-pounder is committed to and will sign with South Carolina on Feb. 2, proving that his family’s sacrifices were worth it.
When they were looking for potential destinations, the McKinneys had relatives in the Columbus area. After realizing the number of major-college players the area churns out, especially Carver High School, the family decided it was the place to make McKinney’s college aspirations come true.
Under the guidance of former Auburn and NFL defensive back Dell McGee, Carver became a Georgia power during McKinney’s career. The play of standout senior tailback Isaiah Crowell, widely considered among the nation’s best prospects as his position, helped lead the program to great heights and put the players around him, including McKinney, on the national recruiting radar.
“I think anytime you’ve got a running back that puts up those kinds of numbers, you’ve got a great offensive line in front of him,” McGee said. “Quincy has been a really consistent player throughout his career.”
McKinney ultimately drew the attention of USC offensive line coach Shawn Elliott and committed to the Gamecocks last August. He played tackle in high school but figures to move inside to guard at the next level, where his strength and athleticism should help open up running lanes.
“I’m aggressive,” McKinney said. “I’m a very aggressive blocker when it comes to run blocking. I don’t stop until I pancake the person. That’s my main objective.
“In pass blocking, I’m not laid back, but I’m more patient, because I don’t want the guy to blow by me or anything. I don’t want anybody touching my quarterback. I treat him like my girlfriend. I don’t want anybody touching him except me.”
Despite making his college dreams a reality, McKinney will come to Columbia with tons of motivation. After missing out on a state championship in 2009, the Carver seniors had eyed a title as seniors this past season.
However, McKinney suffered a serious ankle injury in a preseason scrimmage last August. One of his teammates rolled on his ankle, breaking two lower leg bones and tearing an ankle ligament. Though he was able to return in the playoffs, the offense, also slowed by injuries to Crowell, never recaptured its top form and the Tigers lost in the Class AA state semifinals.
Still, McKinney learned what it takes to be a champion in high school.
“I don’t get shaken up very easily at all,” he said. “If we’re down by two touchdowns with five minutes to go, I’m not giving up until the game is over. I’m not shaken up if a guy beats me. That just motivates me even more to dominate him on that play.”