Nick Saban is widely considered to be one of the best coaches in college football history. His skill at recruiting and his success on the field has turned Alabama into a powerhouse program with two national championships under his belt.
Xavier McKinney is a safety for the New York Giants who was drafted by them in the 7th round of 2018 NFL Draft. He was asked what he thought about Nick Saban, and his answer only took 7 words to confirm that Saban is one of the greatest coaches of all time.
If the New York Giants want to, they can give Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban a complimentary fruit basket. With the number of players the great coach has sent to the NFL in the previous 15 years, something tells us he’ll be getting much more inventive and costly presents this Christmas season than pears and apples.
Let Giants safety McKinney, Xavier explain the five-time SEC Coach of the Year’s history in seven words if you’re still dubious of Saban’s excellence after seven national titles and counting.
Xavier McKinney expressed his admiration for Nick Saban and Alabama.
Xavier McKinney (R) of the New York Giants made it plain how much he valued his teammates. Nick Saban, his former college head coach | Getty Images/Joel Auerbach
McKinney signed with Alabama ahead of the 2017 season after establishing himself as a blue-chip recruit at Roswell High School in Georgia. He first wore a New York Giants cap three years later, and as a second-round draft selection, he started his professional career.
The bad news for McKinney is that his current squad has just one-third of his previous team’s wins as of publishing. He is, though, performing well in his first full season as a starter and providing at least one draft selection to beleaguered general manager Dave Gettleman’s résumé.
In a decisive 23-16 win at home, the second-year safety intercepted Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. It was the Giants’ second victory in three games, and it kept the four-time Super Bowl winners in contention for a wild-card spot by a hair.
McKinney acknowledged his experience in Tuscaloosa for setting him on the road to success in the NFL, according to NBC Sports.
“Alabama taught us how to deal with situations like these.”
McKinney said his three years with the Crimson Tide taught him “not to get too enthusiastic” and to behave as though he’d “been there before.”
McKinney said, “I don’t want to squander energy that I’ll need later in the game.”
In recent years, Alabama has produced a slew of All-Pro players and future NFL luminaries.
The Alabama-to-NFL pipeline is unstoppable, particularly as Saban continues to recruit the best student-athletes in the nation. In the 2021 NFL season, 54 former Crimson Tide players were on active 53-man rosters.
Many of those names will be recognizable to you. Before sustaining a foot injury on Halloween, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry had rushed for 2,000 yards and was on course to set the league’s single-season rushing record. Julio Jones, a teammate of his, was a key member of Saban’s inaugural Crimson Tide squads in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
The Dallas Cowboys, led by wide receiver Amari Cooper and cornerback Trevon Diggs, are on their way to their first NFC East championship since 2018. Despite the Philadelphia Eagles’ and Miami Dolphins’ respective quarterback issues, rookie receivers Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle have transitioned well to the NFL.
The list goes on and on, owing to the fact that Alabama has had 39 players picked in the first round of the NFL draft since 2009. Six players joined the club earlier this year: Waddle, Denver Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II, Smith, New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, Las Vegas Raiders offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood, and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris.
McKinney’s remarks simply added to the reason why so many Crimson Tide players have found success in the NFL. The ultimate test, as former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow recently pointed out when addressing playing on the road, is the culture at Alabama combined with what it takes to thrive in the SEC.
McKinney is shaping up to be the next great NFL player for the Crimson Tide.
The Giants are still looking for their identity while Alabama continues to compete for national titles. Fortunately for them, McKinney has emerged as a cornerstone of safety.
McKinney has four interceptions and 46 tackles before the Week 10 bye. In Week 9, no defensive player had a better Pro Football Focus grade than his 94.5.
McKinney will go a long way toward helping the Giants back to postseason contention after a decade of futility if he continues to develop under defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Joe Judge, who has been heavily chastised, won’t mind if his squad finishes well in the second part of the season.
The Giants’ next goal is to finish the 2021 season strong. Five of their last seven opponents (the Giants face the 3-6 Eagles twice) have losing records before Week 10. It’s not impossible for a skilled and competitive Giants club to win eight or nine games this season.
McKinney was trained by Alabama to make clutch plays and win on the biggest stages in the game. We’ll see whether Giants supporters start to feel the same way Crimson Tide fans have since Saban’s arrival in 2007.
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