Posted On: 03/24/20 12:40 AM
One of the cooler and more underrated aspects of writing for Northstar Football News is uncovering, tracking, and hyping up the younger upcoming prep recruits the state of Minnesota has to offer. Getting ahead on the recruiting trail of a future potential highly-rated recruit and helping to disperse their film and get their name out there as a underclassmen is a very cooling feeling as a writer in my position. With that being said, there is nothing up-and-coming about this NFN featured recruit Rashad Mckinley. An already highly-rated recruit who has received a Power 5 offer from Iowa State University as only a sophomore, the Hill-Murray Pioneer was recently listed as the #3 overall prospect in Northstar's preliminary 2022 rankings and is only in the beginning stages of his football journey both on the field, and as a recruit. The 5'11, 160 lb. WR/ATH is a legitimate 4.4 40-yard dash speedster who is so fast that he'd outrun the Pioneers' cameraman in his Sophomore Season Highlight Tape, and is already a good route runner who possesses a shiftiness that we don't see out of Minnesota athletes very
One of the cooler and more underrated aspects of writing for Northstar Football News is uncovering, tracking, and hyping up the younger upcoming prep recruits the state of Minnesota has to offer. Getting ahead on the recruiting trail of a future potential highly-rated recruit and helping to disperse their film and get their name out there as a underclassmen is a very cooling feeling as a writer in my position. With that being said, there is nothing up-and-coming about this NFN featured recruit Rashad Mckinley. An already highly-rated recruit who has received a Power 5 offer from Iowa State University as only a sophomore, the Hill-Murray Pioneer was recently listed as the #3 overall prospect in Northstar's preliminary 2022 rankings and is only in the beginning stages of his football journey both on the field, and as a recruit. The 5'11, 160 lb. WR/ATH is a legitimate 4.4 40-yard dash speedster who is so fast that he'd outrun the Pioneers' cameraman in his Sophomore Season Highlight Tape, and is already a good route runner who possesses a shiftiness that we don't see out of Minnesota athletes very often. He's a threat to score anytime he touches the ball - this is proven by his 10 TDs last season - and Iowa State made a smart call offering Mckinley early, as his list of Division I offers is going to be quite lengthy by the time he's a senior. After releasing the 2022 rankings Northstar Football News was lucky enough to catch up with the sophomore East St. Paul product to talk about his first two seasons of high school football, how the Iowa State offer came to be, which college's he's hoping to hear from, and more. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy!
NFN: Hello and thank you for your time, Rashad! Congratulations on your NFN c/o '22 #3 overall ranking. Please begin by telling us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what's a fun fact about you? When did you begin playing football? And what do you love about the game?
Mckinley: "I'm from East Saint Paul, Minnesota and I started playing football when I was 8 years old and playin' for a Jimmy Lee 10u football team. When I was 12 years old I made it to the junior olympics and ranked 8th fastest kid in the nation and I got named athlete of the year for that. What I love about playing football is the fact that I can hit or show up my opponent without it being a penalty or anything, and it allows me to make new bonds with people that become strong. I’m 5,11 I weigh 160 my 40 is 4.40. My stats from last year I held at 10 touchdowns and 750 yards."
NFN: Tell us a little bit about your freshman Hill-Murry season in 2018. What were some highlights and lowlights? What did you learn from it? What was the adjustment to high school ball like?
Mckinley: "My freshman year at Hill-Murray was kind of rough considering I didn’t know many people there and everything was new. It took some adjusting for me but once I got a hang of how things went I felt more confident with my talents, and I started to gain friends and opportunities. My season didn’t go as well, as I averaged 1 touchdown for the whole season, and it took me some adjusting and a different mindset and understanding that it wasn’t rec. league football anymore, but it was a huge step up. But I mostly learned that If I wanted to see a change in my game, I had first had to make a effort to see a change."
NFN: What were your expectations for yourself and the team this season in 2019? How had you guys built on last year and what kind of things did you work on to better your game football wise in the offseason? Also, what do you like about the Pioneer program?
Mckinley: "Coming into the 2019 year I had high expectations for myself as did the team. For me being viewed as a leader at the position I was at, it made me feel as if I needed to take over and show how good of a leader I can be. Last year the team seemed more dedicated to win games and had less of a losing attitude. We didn’t go down easy when it came to tough games and we always made a effort to prove a point to teams. My season personally went well considering my stats and my team having my back and the amazing coaching from Coach Pete and Coach Myles I couldn’t have asked for better coaches than them two because they allowed me to bring out my inner dog and fight, no matter what the score was. Things I like about the program is, we make sure everybody has what we need and nobody is left out and one person does something we all do it, and it seems like more of a brotherhood than a team."
NFN: Tell us about your first eight regular season games in 2019? Who’d you play? How’d they go? What were some big games and some of the best games for you? With a tough conference that includes Simley, Maht, Tartan, and STA, what do you guys have to work on as a team in order to get those wins in 2020? Also, who are your favorite teams to play against and why?
Mckinley: "Our first 8 games of the season were tough and well played games. With playing North St. Paul, Maht, Tartan, Simley, DeLasalle, South Saint Paul, Holy Angles and St.Thomas Academy, some games were close and some not so close but we kept fighting 'till the end and didn’t get nothing else but stronger mentally and physically. Best games were against Maht and South Saint Paul with having 2 touchdowns in each game I had over 80 yards in both games. This (upcoming) season in able for us to be successful in are tough conference, we have to be dedicated fully and fight like its are last game every game and never give up because we have the talent and the skill we need to win conference. My favorite teams to play against are Tartan and South Saint Paul, mainly because it’s good competition but also because I have some childhood friends and rivals on those teams and it allowed me to push harder after those games to see what I need to do, to be the best and succeed."
NFN: What happened in that section matchup against Simley? What were some big plays you made in that game and how can you build on that experience to have a better 2020 playoff outcome?
Mckinley: "In sections we didn’t do as well and we wanted vs Simley, and the only play I made was a 80 yard kick return at the beginning as my Coach didn’t throw the ball much but he kept it in the ground a lot. This shows me that I have to show my coach that the ground isn’t always the way but I gotta get open and up to show a different way this year."
NFN: When did the recruiting process really begin for you? Have teams been in contact for a while? Or did things really heat up after the season ended? Also, what are you looking for in a college football team? What can you offer to a team as well? What was like getting that first offer from Iowa State and how did it happen? Who else are you interested in? Additionally, what can you offer to a college program as a player?
Mckinley: "The recruiting process for me pretty much started after the season ended. No teams really contacted me until after I got my first offer from Iowa State, and then colleges started inviting me to junior days and things like that, but due to covid-19 a lot of those got canceled. Some of the main things I’m looking for in a college are brotherhood, loyalty, effort and great academics. For them I can offer my effort, time, and hard work & dedication. Getting my first offer from Iowa State was huge for me as it would for anybody, I was just surprised when my coach called and said they seen my film and wanted to offer me. I didn’t know what to do, but I was blessed by it but also knew that it is just the beginning. I haven’t contacted them or anything before, they just reached out to me. The (junior day) visit to Iowa State was nice and cool considering it was my first one, and I liked the coaches and what I heard about it. I’m still interested in Minnesota, Oregon, Ohio State, the Michigan Wolverines, and Texas Longhorns and I pray they reach out to me. I found out that in recruiting you have to be patient but until then keep working on your craft and never be satisfied because it’s always somebody working to be better than you. My plans going forward are to mainly get over this virus, keep good grades and go nowhere but up in whatever I do."
As one of the next up-and-coming stars out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, this dang sure won't be the last you hear of Rashad Mckinley.