Tennessee instant-impact commit: Kahlil McKenzie
Imagine the intrigue heading into next season in Knoxville: Derek Barnett and Kahlil McKenzie matching plays behind the line of scrimmage along the same defensive line.
Barnett, Tennessee’s freshman record holder for sacks in a season (10.0), was one of the SEC’s biggest surprises this fall and McKenzie, an incoming five-star tackle from California, holds the natural ability to provide a similar impact.
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The 6-foot-4, 320-pounder chose the Vols in July over offers from Alabama and Arizona among several others. The son of former Tennessee standout and current Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, Kahlil will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January and doesn’t have a weakness in his game — at least not at the prep level.
McKenzie joins fellow five-star Shy Tuttle in the Vols’ 2015 class, a loaded haul that defensive line coach Steve Stripling — along with several assistants — worked tirelessly to put together. Tennessee’s incoming group currently sits at No. 5 in the country, Butch Jones’ second consecutive Top 10 class.
Kahlil McKenzie & Shy Tuttle are gonna remind a lot of people of the days of John Henderson & Albert Haynesworth. That D-Line will be scary.
— The Volunteer (@ALLVOLNEWS) December 17, 2014
Rated the nation’s top interior defender by 247Sports, McKenzie starred at Nike’s ‘The Opening’ camp over the summer and according to scouts, has few weaknesses. He’s relentless in pursuit, quick off the snap and rarely misses a ballcarrier in his vicinity.