Entering his freshman year, Ga'Quincy "Kool-Aid" McKinstry was arguably the most lauded defensive back prospect of the Nick Saban era.

Widely regarded as the top cornerback in the nation as well as the top player in the state of Alabama, the Pinson Valley product entered the Capstone with extremely lofty expectations.

Seeing more playing time as the season went on, McKinstry got better and better and started to make plays in huge moments. Perhaps most memorable was his play in overtime of the Iron Bowl, breaking up a pass attempt on the Tigers two-point try and putting Alabama in a spot to seal up the game.

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Now entering his sophomore campaign, McKinstry will be expected to be much more than just a complimentary piece to a talented secondary. If both live up to their potential, McKinstry and new transfer addition Eli Ricks have a chance to form a lockdown duo that will terrify opposing offensive coordinators.

Jordan Battle, who elected to return for his senior season this year, citing "unfinished business" like many others, has been a leader on this defense for multiple years now, and heaped praise on McKinstry this afternoon.

"He's getting more confident, more and more comfortable with the players, the scheme. He’s teaching all the other players, he’s been able to teach other corners how to play the position. So I love the progress from him as well.”

The fact that Battle has seen the kind of progress from McKinstry from freshman to sophomore year to the point where he is teaching other players speaks volumes. This shows the natural talent, leadership, and football intelligence that McKinstry possesses, as well as just how far he has come since the beginning of his freshman year.

In a year where Alabama is looking to resolve unfinished business, it should make Crimson Tide fans feel confident that one of their most important pieces on the defense in 2022 seems to be developing both on and off the gridiron.

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