Leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, now-Los Angeles Quarterback Justin Herbert had a few concerns about him as a prospect that kept being brought up in conversations about his NFL future.
The one that kept persisting was his leadership, no matter how much his teammates in Eugene said that criticism was invalid.
Add Oregon cornerback Verone McKinley III to that list. The soon-to-be redshirt sophomore joined CJ McCollum on the Pull Up Podcast to talk about the NFL Draft and his thoughts on the leadership concerns about his quarterback.
Definitely. I trust him [with the game on the line] because he knows everything he's doing. Sometimes he's more of a lead by example type of guy so that's why there was speculation of how he may not be a good leader or he doesn't talk as much. Justin definitely talks and he definitely brings us together as a team... but sometimes, forget all the talking and let's play ball.
The cornerback, who spent two seasons on campus with Herbert, cited the signal caller's desire to win as an integral element to his leadership.
"He's a competitor in everything. I've played basketball with him multiple times. Bowling, golf, anything we play, Justin's trying to win," said McKinley III.
"He gets serious... We were playing pickup basketball as a team and he went and dunked on somebody... He's like a freak athlete and he doesn't get credit for it."
At 6'6" with a 36" vertical leap it's no wonder Herbert could get up above the rim.
McKinley isn't alone in the Oregon program supporting Herbert. Head coach Mario Cristobal called him "the best [quarterback] I've been around" in a radio interview with WQAM ahead of the 2019 season.
"This guy is all of 6'6", he's 240 pounds. Driven, determined, hungry, off-the-charts smart, can make every throw, can run, can run the entire offense, can manage the run game, can flip protections - he can do it all. He really is that kind of a guy. He's loved by his teammates - everyone just thinks the world of him. He's a grinder."