In a bit of a shocker, at least for myself and I am sure a few fans, UND has lost another player to the vaunted “transfer portal”. The previous UND players to transfer out were not huge surprises but this one was.
On Friday it was announced by Rivals via their Transfer Portal twitter page that junior RB Cam McKinney was entering the transfer portal and thus leaving UND.
Cameron McKinney has entered the transfer portal after playing both WR and RB at #FCS North Dakota. In 2 seasons he had 28 rec for 211 yards and 49 carries for 302 yards and 2 TD; he also returned kickoffs @rivalsmike @RivalsWoody
— NCAA Transfer Portal (@RivalsPortal) May 15, 2020
McKinney was a backup running back and backup slot receiver for the Hawks during his three years on campus. He was widely regarded as one their more dynamic players, definitely one of the fastest. He showed that last season on a long TD run vs. Northern Colorado where he blew threw the line and then outran the safety down the sideline untouched.
But, McKinney was also often injured during his time on campus, missing four games last season. This undoubtedly cut into his playing time and it felt like we were never able to see the full skillset on display because of the that. Also, he was slotted behind some pretty good running backs (Santiago, Oliveira, Johannesson), which didn’t help with playing time.
Over his time at UND, McKinney amassed 49 rushes for 302 yards and 2 TD’s. He also caught 28 passes for 211 yards, showing his diversity. In 2019, McKinney was one of UND’s main kick returners with 17 attempts for 406 yards (24 yard avg).
When looking at this move from the outside it’s a bit of a head-scratcher for a few reasons. McKinney is going to be a junior, meaning he has two years of eligibility remaining. However, he has already redshirted – so to transfer to another FCS/FBS school means he needs to sit out a season, leaving one year to play. That’s not real attractive to potential suitors. He could transfer down to D2 or D3 and play immediately, however.
The other caveat is McKinney runs track for UND. There is a possibility he may just stay on campus and run track and look for something after next year. Once again, kind of an odd sequence of events since he wouldn’t have played for a full season by his own choosing, but an option nonetheless.
Where does this leave the Hawks running back room for new coach Robbie Rouse? They’re actually still in pretty good shape. Returning are breakout sophomore Luke Skokna, who coming off a knee injury in high school really looked good at the end of the 2019 season, in which he amassed 25 carries for 192 yards and 2 TD’s. Senior Dalton Gee is the swiss-army guy who can run, catch and block effectively (44 rushes, 12 receptions). I know Brock Boltmann is a wide receiver by trade but he also ran the ball 31 times, mostly out of the Brockstar formation, for 243 yards and 2 TD’s.
The first wild card of the group is Otis Weah, the 5’8″-200 sophomore from Moorhead, MN. Weah was academically ineligible last season but did stay on the team and has a chance to be cleared for the fall with enough schoolwork completed. He would definitely be in the rotation and ease the loss of McKinney.
A second wild card to watch for is true freshman Creighton Mitchell, who joined the team in January after graduating early from high school. The 5’8″-180 dynamo from Clive, IA adds a speed, quickness dimension to the group and will undoubtedly get a serious look at playing time now.