Trent McKinney is too unselfish to openly describe his talents as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the state.
One look at the box score of his final game last season — 348 passing yards, 67 rushing yards, three total touchdowns against Kahuku –says it all.
The reason for optimism around Mililani this season is the added maturity that McKinney has shown in addition to his physical skill.
First-year head coach Rod York saw McKinney’s raw talents in practice last year every day as the defensive coordinator. Now he’s watching first-hand how McKinney has progressed with the mental attributes needed to become the complete quarterback he desires to be.
"Everyone knows that he’s elusive and can move around the pocket, but I don’t think he gets enough credit for being a very intelligent quarterback," York said. "He’s always been a leader –showing up for meetings on time and workouts on time –but now he’s a vocal about things, getting on guys when things aren’t going well."
The growth started at the beginning of his junior year when McKinney took over the reins at quarterback. His progress showed at the end of the season when Mililani scored 115 points in its last three games.
Then-coach Darnell Arceneaux, who played a big role in McKinney’s progression, left for Saint Louis in the offseason. Now, McKinney is being molded by former Crusaders quarterback Bobby George, who serves as the offensive coordinator.
"I wasn’t mad when Coach Darnell left, because I knew Coach York would find someone I would learn just as much from and I’m learning a lot from Coach Bobby," McKinney said.
McKinney, who is 6-feet and 190 pounds, drew a lot of attention in the offseason participating in camps and clinics both locally and on the mainland.
He said the last time he was clocked in the 40-yard dash he ran a 4.8 and schools including Colorado, Stanford, Washington and Washington State have shown interest. The Cougars offered him a scholarship, but recently took it off the table after receiving a commitment from another quarterback.
College recruiting took up a lot of McKinney’s time in the summer, but the beginning of fall camp has shifted his focus back to the high school scene.
Mililani lost Washington commit Taz Stevenson from last season, but McKinney has almost all of his receivers back. Speedy Bryson Calma and 6-4 Hassan Richardson are at his disposal, as is Ervan Jean-Pierre, another 6-4 receiver who transferred from a school in Texas.
"I understand the game more and we have this connection this year that we didn’t have (at this time) last year," McKinney said. "We’re going to do most of the same this year, stay in the gun, and keep that attack this year."
The Star-Advertiser kicked off the high school football season with unprecedented coverage, featuring top players at each position and counting down to the top teams in the state. See below for past and upcoming stories.
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