WR Isaiah McKoy looking to make leap from MAC to NFL

Kent State wide receiver Isaiah McKoy breaks loose against Utah State in the Frisco Bowl in 2019. (Associated Press)

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Kent State wide receiver Isaiah McKoy breaks loose against Utah State in the Frisco Bowl in 2019. (Associated Press)

Kent State wide receiver Isaiah McKoy, after a strong career at Norcross High, took the Mid-American Conference by storm.

In 2019, he helped the Golden Flashes post their first winning season since 2012 and earn the school’s first-ever bowl victory.

After the Golden Flashes played just four games in 2020, McKoy elected to enter the NFL draft with a year of eligibility left. He received an invite to the NFL combine and went through his Pro Day workout on Monday.

“The process of the draft this year is a little different with all of the stuff going on with the COVID-19,” McKoy said Monday on a virtual call. “I’m definitely real satisfied with what I did today. I’m also real proud of myself.”

Players like McKoy, from mid-major conferences, must make the most of their Pro Day since the combine is not being held this season.

“I think it’s just perseverance, the challenge that it presents,” McKoy said. “We’ve been dealing with this new world that we are in right now with everything that is going on in the world. Perseverance is something that everybody has to have.”

McKoy was a three-star recruiting coming out of Norcross.

“Norcross did a lot for me back in the day when I was there,” McKoy said. “Graduating from there, there were a lot of pros that went to that school. ... I know that I’m going to be the next one up.”

As recently as 2018, Norcross had six players in the NFL in Lorenzo Carter, Jason Croom, Chris Herndon, Geremy David, Max Garcia and Alvin Kamara.

“I’m just grateful to be here,” McKoy said. “I’m just grateful for my former high school head coach Keith Maloof and everybody back there that helped me get to where I am right now. I would say they’ve paved the way. When I first got to Norcross they were long gone, but I heard of them all.”

McKoy hopes to add to the Blue Devils’ NFL legacy.

“I think I fit in the NFL as being a real tough player,” McKoy said. “I’m really a darkhorse in the draft. Really just knowing that I’m an underdog and I have to work harder, faster and a lot smarter than everybody else.”

McKoy has had several virtual meeting with NFL teams.

“I think the No. 1 thing is that I’m a tough dude, a strong dude and I can overcome any situation that comes to me,” McKoy said.

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Kent State wide receiver Isaiah McKoy (23) dives for a touchdown against the Bowling Green Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Rick Osentoski/AP)

Credit: Rick Osentoski

Kent State wide receiver Isaiah McKoy (23) dives for a touchdown against the Bowling Green Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Rick Osentoski/AP)

Credit: Rick Osentoski

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Kent State wide receiver Isaiah McKoy (23) dives for a touchdown against the Bowling Green Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Rick Osentoski/AP)

Credit: Rick Osentoski

Credit: Rick Osentoski

He was named third-team All-MAC in 2019 and was first-team in 2020. He led the Golden Flashes in receptions, yards and touchdowns in each of the past two seasons.

McKoy’s specialty was making big plays, like the 78-yard touchdown catch in the 51-41 win over Utah State in the Frisco Bowl in 2019.

McKoy led the Mid-American Conference in yards per catch (15.6) in 2019 and finished third in the conference in 2020 (18.1).

Overall, he finished his career with 124 catches for 1,848 yards and 16 touchdowns. He ranks sixth all-time in receptions, fifth all-time in yards and second all-time in touchdown receptions in Kent State history.

“I think he’s done a tremendous job developing his skill set each and every year since he’s been up here for the past three years,” Kent State coach Sean Lewis said. “It seems like yesterday when he was in my office committing on his official visit, signing and being a part of our program. Since he’s been here, he’s really taken tremendous strides as a young man first and foremost.”

Lewis said that McKoy was a solid student in the classroom.

“As far as a football player, he really dove into the details of the position of playing wide receiver,” Lewis said. “Obviously, he’s got speed to burn and can run by people. He’s really done a great job learning the nuances of the game. The details and route (running) technique that’s going to be needed at every level, this level or the next level.”

Lewis, who played at Wisconsin, believes McKoy can make it in the NFL.

“He’s got a tremendous upside,” Lewis said. “When paired with the right organization at the next level, he’s got an opportunity to stick and stay for many years.”

McKoy is aware of the history of receivers to make the leap from the MAC to the NFL. Greg Jennings (second round, Packers 2026), Antonio Brown (sixth round, Steelers, 2010) and Corey Davis (first round, fifth overall, Titans, 2017) and the most notable.

He also knows about former Kent State’s Julian Edelman, who went to the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2009 draft. Of course, the old-timers remember Kent State linebacker Jack Lambert getting drafted by the Steelers in 1974 and going on to a Pro Football Hall of Fame career.

“There are a lot of hard-nosed players that came out of the MAC,” McKoy said. “I hope to be the next one.”

THE DRAFT NETWORKS Isaiah McKoy Scouting Report: A long strider and vertical threat at the position, McKoy has been one of the better players for the Kent State offense since his freshman season (2018). Possessing a bit of a slender frame, but he’s proven to be consistent with racing past defenders on vertical routes. Collecting 13 downfield touchdowns during his three-year career, he averaged a career high 18.3 yards per catch during a shortened season in 2020. Tallying touchdown receptions of at least 70 yards during all three seasons, he’s remained consistent with his ability to threaten defenses on the third level. Continued development in the short-to-intermediate areas will be needed as there are some challenges when forced off his spots. Because of his skill set to place deep stress on defenses, he projects as a popular name during the middle stages of Day 3 of the draft as he could be a prime target for teams in the 5th or 6th round. --Jordan Reid, Senior NFL Draft Analyst

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Norcross wide receiver Isaiah McKoy (13) can't hold onto a catch as he is hit by a Colquitt County defender in the first half of their game during the Corky Kell Classic at Georgia State Stadium Saturday, August 19, 2017, in Atlanta.

Norcross wide receiver Isaiah McKoy (13) can't hold onto a catch as he is hit by a Colquitt County defender in the first half of their game during the Corky Kell Classic at Georgia State Stadium Saturday, August 19, 2017, in Atlanta.

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Norcross wide receiver Isaiah McKoy (13) can't hold onto a catch as he is hit by a Colquitt County defender in the first half of their game during the Corky Kell Classic at Georgia State Stadium Saturday, August 19, 2017, in Atlanta.

Falcons’ 2021 draft position: Here are the picks in D. Led’s Mock Draft 2.0: Top five picks

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)

2. New York Jets: Justin Fields, (QB, Ohio State)

3. Miami Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase (WR, LSU)

4. Falcons: Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)

5. Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, (OT, Oregon)

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