Falcons’ Takkarist McKinley explosiveness, passion nothing new from UCLA days

Credit: Mitchell Leff

Credit: Mitchell Leff

When someone says Takkarist McKinley, the first thing that comes to mind after Thursday’s NFL Draft is what happened in the linebacker’s brief interview with NFL Network’s Deion Sanders.

While Sanders interviewed the No. 26 overall Draft pick on live television, McKinely dropped an expletive in a fiery speech about his late-grandmother Myrtle Collins and coming through on his promise to make it to the NFL.

The energy and explosiveness that characterized McKinley on Thursday night isn’t new— that’s just McKinley.

Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times reported in November that after being abandoned by his parents, McKinley was raised mostly extended family, including Collins.

When his extended family and close friends came to see McKinley and the Bruins play California in late-November, McKinley told the Los Angeles Times he might overflow with emotion during his final game as a Bruin.

“I’ve gotta have a controlled insanity,” McKinley said according to the Los Angeles Times. “I’m going to be pretty pumped.”

After all the linebacker from Richmond, Calif. has been through, some like former California coach Sonny Dykes find McKinley inspirational.

"Kids that don't have anything and make something for themselves the way he has, I think it's an inspiration to everybody," former Cal coach Sonny Dykes said to the Los Angeles Times before Cal played UCLA in November. "Heck, I'm 47 years old and it's an inspiration for me. I'm just really proud of him and really excited to see what he does in his future. I'll be rooting for him every single game except this Saturday."

In his final collegiate game against California on Nov. 26, McKinley registered a season-high of 11 total tackles. UCLA lost to Cal 36-10.