The following is a re-print of an article written by Media Relations Student Assistant Michael Holt during Kenny McKinley's senior season at South Carolina:
McKinley sees the end of his college football career just around the corner and
there's a lot that he is going to miss.
"I'm going to
miss game day, coming out there with all the fans, coming out for 2001, and
just the whole experience of being a Gamecock," he said. "I'm going to miss all
of that. I've been here for four years. It's all going to be a great memory."
McKinley is a
fan favorite and that explains why the Gamecock faithful will be a significant
part of his memories. But there is still much more to be remembered.
McKinley has created a standard of
excellence at South Carolina over the past four years. One of the best receivers to put on the
pads at South Carolina, McKinley is one of only five players in SEC history to
record 200 catches in a career.
Heading into the Outback Bowl, he stands fourth all-time in league
history in that category with a school record 201 career receptions.
In addition to
the career mark that he holds, McKinley also enters his final game with a
streak of 42 consecutive games with a reception. That ranks as the longest in the SEC and among the nation's
performer, McKinley has been a steady influence on the Gamecock offense from his
freshman season to the present.
The responsibility of being one of South Carolina's top offensive
threats is something that McKinley takes seriously.
"It feels good,
and I worked hard to get here, I paid my dues," he said. "When I was younger I
was behind Sydney (Rice) and Syvelle (Newton), and all those guys. So when you
get older you just expect it. Since I'm the leader of the offense you kind of
expect to be the go to man. It comes with maturing and getting older. But I
accept it and enjoy the challenge."
Last year as a junior, McKinley started
every game of the 2007 season and led the SEC in receptions with a total of 77
for a team best 968 yards, along with a team-leading nine touchdowns.
Although he was
sidelined in the early part of the year with a hamstring injury that cost him
three games, he has still had a solid senior year with 48 catches for 556 yards
as well as four touchdowns setting the school record for receptions in the
Setting both the
single-season and career school records for receptions was significant for
"It was a very
big deal," he said. "A goal that I had set was to break the record, it has been
a great accomplishment."
But the career
records aren't what McKinley wants to be remembered for. He wants to be remembered
as, "A passionate player, a guy who always went out there and played with
heart, and just played for the love of the game."
He hopes, "That
people notice when I go out and play and try and give 100 percent all the time
and do everything I can do to give our team a chance to win."
does what he can for the team, helping in any way possible, especially as a
mentor to the younger receivers.
" I tell them
different ways to get open, and different ways to become a better receiver," he
has the amazing gift to be able offer knowledge and advice to younger
"Coach Spurrier Jr. really taught me a
lot, so I try to give our younger guys a lot of the knowledge that he has given
me," he said. "I try to tell them the right things to do."
excited when he sees his teammates perform well on the field. When McKinley
went down with his hamstring injury in September, he understood the importance
of his role on the sideline.
McKinley wasn't able to play, it didn't mean that he was done helping the team.
While on the sidelines, he had a new set of plays to run.
"I was trying to talk to all the younger
guys, and if they make a mistake tell them what to do next time, so they don't
do it again and keep everyone pumped up," he said. "Basically, I was out there
being a cheerleader. It's something you go through that humbles you, and lets
you know that this game can be taken from you at any time. So I was out those
three weeks but I was just hoping and praying. I couldn't wait to get back on
the field, and I'm back on the field now, so its time to show up."
With the season
coming to a close McKinley has been thinking about his future and life after
be selected in the NFL Draft and have a long career," McKinley said. "But if
nothing else happens, I just hope to get a good job and be a successful man."
forward to a life full of football, and looks back at all the memories he's had
as a Gamecock. But before he leaves his legacy, he has some advice for his
college life to the fullest, because it goes by real fast, all of my years are
already almost up, I just say it comes and it goes." He reiterates to, "Give everything 100 percent."