5-Star CB Ga'Quincy McKinstry Commits to Alabama over LSU, Auburn

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2020

Credit: Jason Caldwell, 247Sports.com

Highly touted cornerback Ga'Quincy McKinstry has committed to Alabama, announcing his decision Sunday on CBS Sports HQ.

McKinstry is the No. 1 cornerback and No. 24 player overall in the 2021 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He's also the best player in the state of Alabama.

The Pinson, Alabama, native had narrowed his list of finalists to five schools in May: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and LSU.

Shortly after the announcement, his father told 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong it didn't look like one team was gaining an edge on the field.

247Sports' Charles Power evaluated McKinstry in February and came away with a strong assessment. He rated the defensive back as a 10 out of 10 in ball skills and handed out a pair of 9s for instincts and change of direction:

"In addition to high-pointing and out-jumping the competition, also shows the ability to locate and track the ball downfield. Makes difficult plays at a high rate and finds multiple ways to effect the game. Instinctive in coverage and shows the ability to read the quarterback's eyes and break on the ball. Impresses with his competitive nature. Will need to continue honing his coverage technique as a cornerback, which should come once he focuses on the sport and position full time."

Pinson Valley head coach Sam Shade played at Alabama before spending eight seasons in the NFL. He took over in February, so he hasn't gotten a comprehensive firsthand look at McKinstry. Still, the former Cincinnati and Washington safety felt confident saying in March that McKinstry could star on either side of the ball.

"He does a great job of locating the football and has really good ball skills," Shade said, per AL.com's Ben Thomas. "There are some receivers in college right now who don't have the natural skills he has. I definitely think he could play on either side of the ball or both, though most people talk about him playing defense."

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Thomas noted McKinstry's skills aren't limited to the gridiron, either. He averaged 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 32 games for the Indians basketball team. His ability to excel in football and basketball is another example of his impressive athleticism.

Whether it's on offense, defense or special teams, McKinstry should be a serious difference-maker wherever he lines up.

Beyond the value he'll provide on the field for Alabama, the Crimson Tide have the added benefit of keeping a star in-state talent away from their biggest rivals. With the newest addition, Alabama sits second in 247Sports' composite team rankings for 2021 behind Georgia and just ahead of Clemson and LSU.

Defense is perennially a strength for Alabama as it sends numerous players from that side of the ball to the NFL. Both Xavier McKinney and Trevon Diggs were second-round picks in the 2020 draft.

In a few years, McKinstry could be among the numerous Alabama stars who played themselves into a prime position in the NFL draft.