Kahlil McKenzie was the biggest recruit of the Butch Jones era at Tennessee.
Some Vol fans would call him the biggest bust. Others would say that he was just another victim of the program-wide epidemic of underdevelopment. Wherever you stand on the issue, everyone would agree that the last three years didn’t go exactly as anyone had planned or hoped.
So, when McKenzie declared for the NFL Draft in January, it was met with a mixture of snickers about how bad of a decision he had made and disappointment of what could’ve been. For Kahlil, it was the next step in a lifelong journey of living up to his family name and playing in the NFL, where both his father and uncle played.
“It’s the only think I’ve thought about. In high school I was thinking about what I need to do to get myself to the next so level so I can do what I need to do in college to get to the National Football League.”
Here is where the video got kind of awkward. When Kahlil is talking about high school, everything was good. It had everything you needed- five star rankings and a reminder that he was the number one player in the country as he headed into college. As the conversation shifted to college, the accolades became a lot less impressive- a slip to the number 18 ranked defensive tackle and underwhelming statistics on a 4-8 team.
Draft position doesn’t matter to me. I’ve seen first rounders perform great, I’ve seen first rounders not make it. I’ve seen undrafted free agents come in and lead teams to playoffs. It’s not really a big deal for me on where I get drafted, it’s about what you do when you get there.”
CBS Sports had the VFL slated to go to Oakland in the 7th round. NFL.com had him going undrafted, but gives him a “better-than-average chance to make a NFL roster” grade.
Kahlil McKenzie knows that it’s officially go time. At 6’3″ and 314 pounds, he has a NFL body, and, with a father who’s currently calling the shots as the General Manager in Oakland, he has the connections and training. He will get an opportunity to achieve his dream.
Will he make the most of it? I hope Vol Nation is rooting for him to do so.