By Kia Croom
Kennedy High School senior Takkarist McKinley is now officially a University of California Berkeley Bear.
He will join the team this fall as a defensive end.
McKinley was joined by more than 50 fans, relatives, friends, Kennedy High staff and faculty as he signed his letter of intent on National Signing Day, Wednesday, Feb. 6. Overcome with emotion, he had little to say but spoke from his heart.
“I want to thank my supporters, team mates and family. I have been through a lot, and this means everything to me,” he said with tears streaming down his face.
It was also an emotional day for McKinley’s Coach Mack Carminer, who says off field the odds were definitely against McKinley. “He is a great student and a hell of a football player. He has had his share of challenges that could have run him off course, but he was committed to this,” Carminer said.
Mike Bobino, Dean of Athletics for Kennedy High, recognized McKinley’s unique athletic prowess in 2012 and invited him to participate in a number of football training camps to showcase his abilities. “I brought him to the Beyond Two Grand (B2G) Elite Football camp last summer, and he dominated. I took him to the Cal State Game (All Star Game), and he was the runner up for Most Valuable Player (MVP). “
According to 24/7 Sports, McKinley was among California’s top 2013 football recruits ranking in at 16; and 5th in the nation in the defensive end position. Standing at 6”3, 240 lbs. he is noted for his extraordinary speed, first displayed at the California State Track Meet in Summer 2012 when he ran his firstever 100 meter-dash in 10.5 seconds.
McKinley has been awarded full athletic scholarship to U.C. Berkeley. He will enroll as an undeclared major. In the meantime, he says he is looking forward to the college experience and living on campus.