By Joe Scalzo
What cornerback DeVon McKoy called the “fastest transaction ever” came together two weeks ago when it became clear he wasn’t going to start at Bowling Green.
Seeking a new team, McKoy talked to his friend and former teammate, Kyle Bryant, who transferred from BG to Youngstown State before last season and enters this season as the starting left tackle.
“I hit my man KB up and asked him, ‘What’s up with YSU?’” McKoy said. “Then I hit up the coach and he told me he needed a corner. I said, ‘Find a way to get me over there.’”
McKoy, who started eight games as a freshman in 2011 before falling to second string last fall, was the answer to a question YSU didn’t expect to have.
But when last year’s starter, senior Dale Peterman, was arrested on Aug. 13 and suspended indefinitely by Coach Eric Wolford, the Penguins were looking at either starting a freshman or moving nickelback Jamarious Boatwright (who has battled a strained hamstring during camp) to field cornerback.
McKoy, who is from the Columbus suburb of Reynoldsburg, was the better option and the transfer came together in just a few days.
“They told me on the phone that they were going to throw me in with the ones [starters] and see what I’ve got,” McKoy said. “And they did. They threw me right in the fire.”
McKoy didn’t begin practicing until Aug. 16 but is already listed as the starter on YSU’s depth chart entering Thursday’s opener against Dayton.
“He’s a good player and he’s been a good addition for us,” Wolford said. “I really like the kid in general. He’s a student of the game, he’s very coachable, we don’t have to repeat things to him and he’s got a maturity about him.
“It’s kind of a mystery to me why things didn’t work out for him, but we’re sure glad to have him.”
Unlike Bryant, who was dismissed from Bowling Green, McKoy left voluntarily. Falcons coach Dave Clawson even told reporters he tried to keep him.
“We didn’t want him to leave because he gave us depth and he also did a great job on special teams for us,” Clawson said in the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune on Aug. 14. “He wants to go somewhere that he can start. We’re disappointed that he’s leaving, but we understand and wish him the best.”
Wolford prefers junior college transfers to ones from FBS schools, believing those schools typically find a way to keep their best players. But he’s had good luck with Bowling Green transfers. Bryant, who started the final six games last season, has been a model citizen and former BG transfer Andrew Johnson was a two-year starter at DT from 2010-11, earning second team all-conference honors as a senior.
McKoy looks to be in that same mold. He was a two-time academic all-conference selection at BG and he’s got a stellar family connection to YSU. His uncle, Kofi Owusu-Ansah, was a standout sprinter for the Penguins from 1996-2000, becoming the first YSU athlete to compete at the NCAA championships when he finished 15th in the 200 meters at the 2000 outdoor meet. (Owusu-Ansah was inducted into YSU’s athletics hall of fame in 2010.)
“I’m just trying to get better,” McKoy said. “I’m embracing the coaching. Anything they see me do wrong, I’m going to [fix] it.”