ROSWELL, Ga. — Roswell graduate Xavier McKinney had seen his professional football ambitions come to fruition. The 2017 grad and defensive back was taken 36th overall by the New York Giants April 24 in the NFL Draft.
McKinney led Roswell’s stingy defense to consecutive appearances in the state championship in 2015 and 2016. During his junior and senior seasons, McKinney racked up nearly 200 total tackles, 16 interceptions, two fumble recoveries, two caused fumbles and blocked punt. During that span, McKinney returned several interceptions and kick returns for a touchdown.
He was selected to play in the 2017 Under Armour All-America game his senior year and was named the 2016 Class 7A Defensive Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was ranked as one of the top college prospects in the state and among the top-ranked defensive backs in the nation.
McKinney was courted by several of the country’s most prestigious programs before committing to Alabama.
With the Tide, McKinney saw some playing time as a freshman in the secondary and on specials teams before a breakout sophomore campaign in 2018. He compiled 73 tackles, two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, 10 pass breakups and a forced fumble. He was named the Defense Most Valuable Player in the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma, racking up five tackles and four pass breakups.
In the 2019 season he was named third-team All-American and All-SEC by the Associated Press. He was the leading tackler for Alabama and 10th in the SEC in tackles (93). The junior totaled five interceptions, 20 pass deflections, five forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
McKinney announced his decision to declare for the draft on Jan. 5.
The Roswell grad will join other North Fulton alums in the professional ranks, including Pisgah’s Kyle Sloter, Alpharetta’s Joshua Dobbs and Carl Lawson and Peyton Barber of Milton.