Former Navy cornerback Cameron Kinley is a renaissance man. The on-field abilities of the cornerback out of the Naval Academy seem to parallel his integrity off the field. While the future of his football career is still up in the air, his off-field aspirations ensure that he will be successful regardless of what happens in April.
His leadership and character is demonstrated by the fact that he was elected class president for his senior class. The political science major is seeking another presidency, too; his dream is to eventually be elected the president of the United States. But these days, he is juggling planning his class’s graduation ceremony with working out ahead of the NFL Draft.
In his eyes, he truly can’t lose.
“One path, I get picked up by a team and am able to live out my dream and play at the next level. Or, the other path is me servicing as an officer in the Navy and give back through service,” Kinley said on Glenn Clark Radio March 16, adding that “it’s reassuring knowing that either way I’ll be set.”
While the standard for an athlete at any service academy is to immediately enlist in some capacity, Kinley has been given the opportunity to forego his obligations temporarily and attempt to compete for an NFL roster spot.
“It’s definitely a blessing. Growing up playing football my whole life, you hear about the percentages of simply playing in high school or playing in college,” Kinley said. “So, to be given the opportunity right now to work out for the next level, and the academy allowing me to go through the process truly means a lot.”
Kinley certainly has the tools to play on Sundays in the very near future. His size will appeal to evaluators, as at 6-foot-2 and 204 pounds, he has the requisite size for a boundary corner in the NFL. He didn’t solidify a starting spot at Navy until his junior season, but he shined when given the opportunity, registering 38 tackles and five pass breakups in 13 starts in 2019.
He also started 10 games for the Mids in what was an abbreviated season in 2020, but he did post his first interception during the stop-and-start campaign – and it was a big one. He also totaled 26 tackles and six pass breakups.
Kinley took part in the College Gridiron Showcase and Hula Bowl (both in January). He also participated in Memphis’ pro day March 19:
There are not many draft projections on Kinley at this time, so it’s unclear what the upcoming draft will hold for him. This seems to be a running theme for players leaving Navy; Keenan Reynolds and Malcolm Perry were drafted in the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively, after starring with the program.
However, Kinley believes playing at the Academy can give him a leg up in the pros, not the opposite.
“I have a lot of upside,” Kinley said. “Playing football at the Academy, you have a lot of other things to focus when it comes to the military and academic aspects. You give me the opportunity to just focus on football the potential is really crazy.”
Character concerns may be a buzzword for some prospects, but they don’t apply to Kinley in the slightest. His playing style and attitude toward the game mirror his actions off the field.
“I’m a very smart and disciplined football player and I am extremely coachable,” Kinley said. “At Navy, I had the opportunity to play under three different position coaches, and I feel like that is overlooked sometimes. As a defensive back, that’s three different schemes and techniques to learn. Being able to do that at the Academy truly shows a lot about me as a player.”
For more from Kinley, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Phil Hoffmann/Navy Athletics