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Kool-Aid McKinstry Confident Heading into Sophomore Season

The defensive back was named to the Freshman All-SEC Team last season and is ready to step up with a year of experience under his belt.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Cornerback is the position that Nick Saban works the most closely with at practice and throughout the season. It can also be one of the most challenging positions to learn, making it more difficult for freshman to find consistent playing time in the defensive backfield. 

Last year as a true freshman, Kool-Aid McKinstry saw an increased role as the season went on and is now prepared to step into an even bigger role as he enters his sophomore season.

"The opportunities I did get as a freshman were very big," McKinstry said on Tuesday in his first appearance with the media. "And that will help me going into my sophomore year, being more confident and knowing what I'm doing. Because I've already been out there."

He is now the Crimson Tide's most experienced returner at corner with Josh Jobe and Jalyn Armour-Davis off to the NFL. Eli Ricks comes in as a transfer from LSU with a lot of experience at the position but is just now getting integrated to the Alabama defense. 

McKinstry was named to the Freshman All-SEC Team last year after recording 25 tackles, one sack and an interception. One of McKinstry's biggest plays of his freshman year and of the season for the Crimson Tide came in the fourth overtime of the Iron Bowl.

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After the two teams had traded scores for three overtimes, Auburn got the ball first in the fourth extra period. McKinstry deflected TJ Finley's pass to keep the Tigers off the board. Bryce Young famously connected with John Metchie on the next play for the Crimson Tide to come away with the 24-22 win. 

"That moment was very big to me, because I'm an in-state kid," McKinstry said. "I was very excited and glad to be a part of helping the team doing what we did."

McKinstry was also recruited by Alabama basketball head coach Nate Oats to play for the Crimson Tide on the hardwood, but did not play for the basketball team last season, and it does not appear to be happening in the future anytime soon. 

"When I first got here, I was thinking about playing basketball," McKinstry said. "I actually did practice with the basketball team, but as of right now, I don't think I'll be playing basketball."

With his focus solely on football, McKinstry is poised to take on a big role in Alabama's secondary this season.