Alabama Football Top 10 Players of 2023: no. 2

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

The Alabama Football spring game kicks off in two days, which will provide Bama fans an opportunity to see one of the nation’s best players. Junior cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry should be off the board early in next year’s NFL Draft.

Kool-Aid McKinstry was a 5-star recruit out of Pinson Valley High School in the class of 2021. He was considered the top cornerback recruit in the nation, and the best overall prospect in the state of Alabama. McKinstry has largely lived up to that hype through two seasons in Tuscaloosa.

His freshman season had the expected ups and downs, but he was able to show his immense potential. Kool-Aid played in all 15 games and started throughout the postseason. For the year, he recorded 25 tackles with a sack and an interception, and was named to the All-SEC Freshman team.

McKinstry enjoyed a breakout season as a true sophomore in 2022. He started all 13 games, and was a standout at cornerback as well as in his role as a punt returner. Following the season, he was named an All-American at both positions by various publications, and was a Bednarik Award semifinalist.

Kool-Aid McKinstry contributed 35 tackles, a sack, an interception, and an SEC-leading 16 pass breakups. He had the third-most PBUs in the nation, and his 332 punt return yards and 15.8 yards-per-return average both ranked in the top three in the country.

Kool-Aid looks to make another jump in 2023, and will be one of the most important players on the Alabama Football team. He will be expected to lead a young secondary and be one of the most consistently impactful members of the Tide defense.

McKinstry will also be a major factor on special teams once again. I wouldn’t bet against him returning a punt for a touchdown, though his opportunities may be limited. Expect Alabama to regularly get favorable field position as opposing punters go out of their way to avoid kicking to Kool-Aid.

Two Bama corners hit the portal. dark. Next

By season’s end, it should not come as a surprise if Kool-Aid McKinstry is considered the best all-around player on the Alabama Football team.