Alabama Football: Three breakout Sophomores to watch

Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Kool-Aid McKinstry was a five-star recruit out of Pinson Valley High School in Pinson, Alabama. Highly sought after, McKinstry was seen as a prized recruit by the Alabama football fan base and coaching staff alike. He was ranked as the top cornerback in the nation and the best player in the state of Alabama, ultimately choosing the Crimson Tide over Auburn and other suitors.

In his true freshman season, McKinstry saw plenty of action both at cornerback and on special teams en route to an All-SEC freshman team selection. He flashed his ability in his very first start, making a tough diving interception on a deflected pass against Mercer.

McKinstry later played a huge role in the Iron Bowl win over Auburn. He got to TJ Finley on a corner blitz in the third quarter, notching his first career sack and pushing the Tigers out of field goal range. The play ultimately ended the Auburn scoring threat, and likely saved the Tide at least three points in a game that eventually went to overtime. In overtime, McKinstry rose to the occasion again, breaking up a pass in the end zone on an Auburn two-point conversion attempt.

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The cornerback finished his freshman year with 26 tackles, a sack and an interception. He is expected to be a full-time starter in 2022, and could be one of the better corners in the country.