Originally from Sydney, Australia, Yankey moved to Atlanta, Georgia when he was eight years old. When he first moved to the US, he didn’t know anything about American football but learned all the rules and the basics from playing Madden. “There’s a plug for playing video games at a young age,” he laughed, “I ended up really enjoying the sport and then started actually playing in real life.” By seventh grade, he was participating in his first season of America’s favorite sport, which he found to be “a very natural fit.”
His success in high school, both on the field and in the classroom, led him to play at Stanford while studying Science, Technology, and Society, an interdisciplinary major unique to the university. “The energy that exists on campus, both academically and athletically, was a huge draw, and I felt incredibly comfortable,” he recalled. He described his time at Stanford as an “incredible four years,” in which he was able to play alongside the likes of Andrew Luck and David DeCastro.
While Yankey was gearing up for the 2014 NFL Draft, he was also accomplishing another major milestone: officially becoming a US citizen. During that period of time, marked both by excitement and stress, he was thankful for the opportunity to be drafted in the fifth round by the Vikings and to start his professional football career. For the next four years, Yankey loved every moment of playing as an offensive guard in the League. “It was truly a once in a lifetime experience…it was really fun to continue to be in a locker room, even after college,” he said, “which is something that is very rare and not afforded to a whole bunch of us.”