California receiver Javon McKinley became the 22nd commitment in the 2016 Notre Dame football class today when he announced for the Irish. The 247 Composite has the 6'2"/206 pound athlete as the #107 overall player, #18 wide receiver, and #18 player in California.
McKinley has generally played his recruitment very close to the vest, but anyone with the ability to connect some dots would know that Notre Dame was in good position throughout. The Irish staff identified him as the top offensive player on their board, and they finally got him. Slainte!
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 4 star (6.0 rating), #59 overall, #12 position, #12 in California
247 - 4 star (94 rating), #117 overall, #17 position, #17 in California
ESPN - 3 star (79 rating), NR overall, #88 position, #58 in California
Scout - 4 star, #52 overall, #8 position, #8 in California
247 Composite - 4 star (0.9462 rating), #93 overall, #18 position, #18 in California
In addition to Notre Dame, McKinley was recruited heavily by UCLA, Washington, and Oregon, and also holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Miami, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Stanford, USC, Wisconsin, and others.
McKinley shows elite athleticism that lets him weave in and out of traffic and explode downfield when he sees a crease. He catches the ball with his hands, away from his body, and adjusts well in the air. He can get physical when he need to, too, which you like to see in a guy with his frame. I'm not sure that he's exceptional at any one thing, but he's really good at everything and it makes him a very well-rounded receiver.
One thing I did notice from this film is that he has a tendency to round off some of his routes. Assuming that's still a problem - the only video I could find is from his junior year, so he may have improved already - he'll need to address it before he can contribute regularly at the next level. College defensive backs will eat him alive if he does that.
McKinley may get a shot to contribute this year, especially with the departure of Will Fuller. It's probably a close call between McKinley and Kevin Stepherson for who is the most polished receiver in this class; I'd expect both of them to play. McKinley is physically ready for the college game and, while he has some stuff to work on, is about as well-rounded an incoming freshman as you could ask for.
Long Term / Career
McKinley has the look of a future star. The Irish are blessed with a surfeit of talent at the wide receiver position, even with the departure of Fuller and Jaylon Guyton's transfer; as a result it may not happen right away but it will before loo long. I see him as a multi-year starter for sure.
Welcome to the family, Javon!