Auburn Football: Breaking Down the Future Tiger Cassanova McKinzy

Dr. SECAnalyst IINovember 4, 2011

My career in sports started as a high school basketball coach. During five seasons of high school coaching, I was blessed to have 39 students sign basketball scholarships. I was hired to be a scout for a private recruiting agency and found that I had a strong passion for this type of work.

With three children and a wife, I decided to resign because of the amount of travel that is required for this type of work. However, I still enjoy breaking down players’ skills and weaknesses and predicting their overall success at the next level.

My website,, is undergoing a dramatic makeover and will be relaunched next Tuesday. As a result, I will be adding a recruiting section where I will break down every verbally committed recruit at SEC schools.

I will start with evaluating one player from each team. The team will be selected by the alphabetical order of the team and the player starting with the earliest commitment date. As a fan of Bleacher Reporter, you will be able to see the reports before they hit my site.

Because of the masses of articles that are being written on the Alabama section of Bleacher Report this week, I will bypass them and move to the next school in line alphabetically, Auburn.

Their first commitment for the 2012 recruiting class was four-star outside linebacker Cassanova McKinzy from Woodlawn in Birmingham, Alabama. McKinzy is is 6'4" and 225 pounds. He has been clocked at 4.65 in the forty-yard dash and has a 26.5-inch vertical.

When watching game film of McKinzy, my first impression was that he is much more athletic than has been reported by the scouting agencies. McKinzy has tremendous closing speed and brings havoc to the backfield on almost every single play.

The first time I saw him on field he was playing running back. From the first carry of the game I was able to observe that he craves contact. Once he makes his initial point of contact he drives through the defender and then bounces the play outside.

Once he switches over to linebacker on defense he becomes the most dominant player on the field. When defending the run, he is able to use his size and aggressiveness to successfully take on blockers at the point of attack, and when he reached the running back he not only did a good job of wrapping up, but many times would also put an SEC-level hit on the ball carrier.

At times he lines up with his hand in the dirt on pass rushing situations. When he does, he is a man among boys because he is able to fully display his quickness off the ball as an edge rusher. At defensive end he has great leverage and consistently gets underneath blockers pads and puts them back on their heels. Even if he does not make the sack, it takes a minimum of two blockers to keep him from at least flushing the quarterback out of the pocket.

The one question mark for me is will he have the ability to cover the pass from the linebacker position.  My initial prediction would be that he will be able to. However, there is not enough of him doing this on film for me to say with certainty. With that said, his ability to read plays and athleticism leads me to believe that he could even become a linebacker who is able to find success on one-on-one pass coverage.

Final Analysis:

With the limited information that I have for my personal recruiting formula, McKenzie rates as an 84 percent chance of becoming a starter for Auburn in the future. This is based partially on the fact that if he is not able to become an efficient in pass coverage, he can be moved to defensive end.
Technically he is on par for the size of several defensive ends in the SEC currently. However, 30 pounds could turn him into a dominant defensive end.

His first season projections will be altered by his ability to prove his worth in pass coverage. However, it is most likely that he will either red-shirt for defensive end or get considerable special teams play while getting minimal but meaningful snaps at linebacker.