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February 15, 2011One of the state's most sought-after defensive players will be on the Plains this weekend when he pays a visit to the Auburn Tigers.
Cassanova McKinzy, a lifelong Auburn fan, earned a verbal offer to join the 2012 signing class last week. He is arriving Friday and will spend at least one night in Auburn.
McKinzy has visited the 2010 National Champions about seven times already and said he feels comfortable on campus.
"It's a great environment," McKinzy said. "As far as the people and all that, I like the atmosphere. Auburn is a pretty nice place. I'm looking forward to this weekend."
McKinzy will spend time catching up with the coaching staff, especially his lead recruiter Tommy Thigpen.
Even though McKinzy is listed as a defensive end, he will likely be a linebacker on the college level. The Woodlawn High student-athlete admitted that he prefers the idea of being an outside linebacker.
As Thigpen continues to recruit McKinzy, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound standout believes the two are building a solid relationship.
"He keeps it real," McKinzy said. "He really seems like he can relate and understand, more than some others coaches probably can."
Even though McKinzy considers himself a fan of the Tigers, he is wide open to all the schools that are interested in him.
McKinzy recently received an offer from Auburn's in-state rival, Alabama, and has visits to two ACC schools on the horizon.
"I'm going to Clemson on March 5 and Florida State the week after that," McKinzy said.
He has also been earning interest from Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State, California, UCLA, Duke, UAB and Arkansas State.
McKinzy does his research on each school and exams the respective depth charts. Clemson, for example, signed five linebackers in the 2011 class.
However, he is determined to excel at whichever schools he ultimately chooses.
"Either way, whether the depth chart is big or not, you still have to go in and work hard," McKinzy said.
For the next few months McKinzy will be focusing on his two other sports, track and field and baseball. McKinzey throws the shot put and is a first baseman and right-handed pitcher on the diamond.
Aside from his athletic ability, McKinzy has another quality that makes him an appealing recruit: his grades. McKinzy said he has a 3.1 grade-point average and is interested in studying criminal justice in college.