Now, a week later, McKinzie has committed to Texas.
McKinzie, out of Lubbock-Cooper High in Lubbock, Texas, is ESPN's No. 95-ranked prospect overall and its No. 3 inside linebacker.
"It was a really hard decision. It took a couple arguments for me to realize that this was where I needed to be," McKinzie said. "It'll still be hard for a couple weeks, but in all honesty, this is where I belong, I truly feel that."
Riley's departure to USC only a few weeks away from the early signing period on Dec. 15 threw a wrench into McKinzie's whole recruitment. He decommitted and is now one of four decommitments for Oklahoma in the 2022 class since Riley left.
Texas hadn't been recruiting him heavily while he was committed to the Sooners, but he knew he had to act quickly to find the right place for him. He visited Texas this past weekend to get more comfortable with the staff and figure out if the program would be a good fit.
"All it took for me was to get down there and become hands-on with those guys and see how they are as men," he said. "And the main thing I could do in that short period of time was just to connect with the players and ask those guys how [the coaches] treat them off the field. Are these men you'd want to be around 24/7, and I kept getting the same answer, and that was, 'Yeah, no doubt.' Like it was no questions asked."
He's the 12th ESPN 300 commitment in the class for Steve Sarkisian and his staff, who see him as a middle linebacker. McKinzie is also part of a big defensive haul in this class for Texas, where eight of the top nine commitments are on the defensive side.
There is a lot of talent joining the program in this class, and that was another factor for McKinzie as he looked for his new school.
"You have to want to surround yourself with people who are eager to win," McKinzie said. "That's the main thing throughout the situation, and this '22 class, they definitely want to win. They're all eager to be great and they want to take Texas back to the top."