Iowa Western Community College coach Scott Strohmeier summoned one of his players, offensive tackle Anthony McKinney, to his office on May 21.
When McKinney arrived, Michigan State offensive line coach Mark Staten was waiting. McKinney had been receiving mail from the Spartans for two months, but the Spartans no longer were just a one-sided pen pal. Now the two were corresponding. In person.
“We sat down and had a good conversation for about an hour,” McKinney said. “[Staten] said that he really loved the way I play, and that he loves my character. He definitely sees me having a future with the Green and White. He was very open and made me feel very comfortable talking to him. We talked about all sorts of things. He said he wants to get me over there to Lansing.”
Staten offered McKinney, a 4-star OT in the 247Sports composite rankings, giving the junior college player another school to add to his illustrious list of possibilities. Iowa State kicked off the offers in November, followed by TCU, Oregon, Syracuse, Maryland, Houston, Louisville, Illinois and the Spartans.
McKinney also picked up an offer during a visit to Iowa on Saturday. He has scheduled trips to Missouri, Oklahoma and TCU. A visit to East Lansing likely will be added.
Blessed to receive a offer from the Michigan State Spartans! pic.twitter.com/vwfUuHR2I9
— Anthony McKinney (@Antwonmckinney6) May 21, 2017
“The thing that stands out to me is just their display and how they emphasize what being a family is all about with this program,” the 6-foot-8, 325-pound standout said of Michigan State. “I’ve always looked up to Michigan State. That was a program that I’ve always watched for the past couple years, and I’ve respected. I always thought it would be an honor to be able to be a part of that.”
Michigan State also offered McKinney’s teammate, offensive guard Josh Knipfel. They led an offensive line that allowed 5 sacks in 2016. However, Knipfel committed to Iowa State — the only other school that offered both — on Friday.
Now McKinney has a decision to make. Initially a wrestler growing up in northern Illinois, he is realizing his football potential with the help of Iowa Western. Wherever he heads next ideally will help him reach the NFL.
“With my potential, my size and my length, I think that I definitely have the body of an NFL tackle,” he said. “All I’ve got to do is put in the work to get there.”
McKinney said he plans to play his sophomore season at Iowa Western, wrap up classes after the first semester and then enroll at his next school in spring 2018. He has plenty of time to find a place that fits his wishes.
“[I] definitely [want] a school that has a big need for offensive tackles,” he said. “I’m looking for a really good relationship with my position coach. That’s crucial. Also, just a really good program and someplace I can call home. It’s really not complex for me.”