Xavier McKinney (Safety)
Alabama played footsie with McKinney for the better part of six months. The No. 8 safety prospect in the 2017 Class had originally committed to the Tide, but backed out last summer and was thought to be a Clemson pickup. However, the New Year brought a pleasant surprise. After some shopping around at some other elite programs, McKinney chose the Tide.
The 70th ranked player in the nation and 8th ranked safety reaffirmed his pledge to Alabama and plans to enroll in a week and a half. At 6'1" 190, he fits the mold of the taller corner/safety hybrid player that Alabama has been favoring in players like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Eddie Jackson. With Bama's secondary already lacking depth (and possibly losing Marlon Humphrey to the NFL), they need all the reinforcements they can get.
The 4-star out of Roswell, Georgia is known as a play-making enforcer in the defensive backfield, a la Mark Barron and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Given his skills set, he projects well at either safety spot, maybe even corner given his balls skills and speed (verified 4.59.) McKinney is also a competent return man, especially in kickoff returns.
McKinney makes plays on the ball. He has great ball skills, he tracks the ball well, and he really reads the eyes of the quarterback. Had 10 interceptions as a junior and returned two of those for touchdowns. Plays with great awareness and anticipation in the secondary. Can jump routes, but likes to sit back and play the ball. Not elite speed, but it is good, and he has good range. Strong build and can come up and make solid tackles.