October 17, 2007
McKinney turns into dominant corner
Kansas State cornerback Justin McKinney has undergone a transformation of sorts in recent weeks. Once a penalty ridden defensive back who K-State's opponents viewed as weakness, the senior has looked like a shutdown corner as of late, making key interceptions and sticking to wide receivers like a gum to a tennis shoe. So, if adjustments are everything the in football, McKinney has been the Wildcats' alpha and omega in 2007.
"If there is a player that I think is most improved on this team, it's Justin McKinney," said Kansas State head coach Ron Prince of his senior cornerback.
This season's first few weeks were a rough road for the K-State defensive back. Countless blown assignments and swarms of penalty flags caused many fans to forgot the solid season the corner had in 2006, during which he led the Wildcats in pass break ups and forced fumbles. But the 5-foot-9 McKinney looked nothing like that player in this season's early going, looking frustrated and even lost at times. Everything changed in the Wildcats' game against Missouri State, and although his breakout game came against inferior competition, it didn't take long for him to prove his positive strides were no fluke.
"I've been trying to improve my technique," McKinney said. "I think it's like any other position on the field. I know I might get beat sometimes, but now I make more plays than I get beat."
After stumbling during K-State's first few games, McKinney, who many contend is only at the top of K-State's depth chart because of the eligibility issues facing sophomore cornerback Josh Moore, has indeed been making plays, recording a pair of interceptions and leading the team in pass breakups.
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