Mike Bobino, mentor to Richmond (Calif.) Kennedy defensive end Takkarist McKinley, likens the newest California commitment to Clark Kent, “a humble, strong kid who has overcome a lot.”
Given a chance to show off his tremendous athleticism, McKinley seems more like Superman than his bespectacled journalist alter ego, running a 10.58 100-yard dash at the CIF State Trials in June in a 6-foot-3, 245-pound frame.
McKinley will use that speed as an outside linebacker and pass rusher for the Golden Bears, deciding Friday he will stay close to home for college.
Despite interest from schools across the West Coast, including Fresno State, Nevada, Oregon and Washington State among others, family considerations and academic opportunity led McKinley to choose Cal.
“It’s the best fit for him,” Bobino said moments after talking to McKinley on the phone. “He said that degree will give him so many opportunities regardless of whether he can play (professionally).”
Having overcome personal strife –McKinley didn’t play football as a freshman to help take care of his grandmother – it was also important to have his family be able to see him play.
“His family is reacting like he is a first-round pick right now,” Bobino said. “They are just so excited.”
Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and covers the Pac-12 for Fox Sports/Scout.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.