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McKenzie Continues to Recruit for Vols


As fans, media members or casual observers of college football, we aren’t always privy to what goes on behind the scenes. That is never more true than it is when you are discussing recruiting tactics and principles implored by coaching staffs as they do ‘whatever it takes’ to land the nation’s top talent and build for the future of their programs each year. Coaches are typically very reserved about their recruiting practices –  rightfully so – and the pitches, sells or dialogue used to convince players that their school is the correct choice for prospective student athletes.

Current Vol commit and 5-star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie is giving Vol fans a glimpse behind that recruiting curtain in 2014. McKenzie – son of former Vol legend and current Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie – committed to Tennessee in July and has hit the recruiting trail running ever since. While most recruits across the country take a step back from the process after committing to their school of choice, McKenzie has put on more steam as he scours the country for future teammates.

McKenzie isn’t shy about his ‘job’ either. While some recruits use social media as an escape from the recruiting process, Kahlil uses it as a platform. He currently has 14,926 followers on Twitter and they are all subjected to the same Big Orange message, day in and day out.

He isn’t afraid to blatantly call out other Vol recruits on twitter…

He even puts recruits on his Christmas wish-list…

He actually wants ALL of the recruits…

He doesn’t stop recruiting them after they’ve committed…

And he isn’t afraid to tell everyone why…

Butch Jones and his staff have often lauded the importance of having committed players recruit their peers, but this quote from Tommy Thigpen from an ESPN article last February sums up the reasoning behind the process:

“When kids get other kids committed, they’re less likely to go anywhere else. They don’t want to let down their peers. That’s what was the most unique thing about this class, that none of those kids took official visits anywhere else. They were highly recruited, high character kids. It wasn’t by accident that they were a close-knit group. They committed, and they never looked anywhere else. The best sellers of the team are those guys recruiting other great players, and it was not from instruction by the coaches. They wanted to have other great players around them.”

Last year it was Vic Wharton who led the recruiting charge for Tennessee on social media and beyond, but this is McKenzie’s year to assist the coaches in assembling another top-5 recruiting class and bring them to Knoxville.

“Tennessee is home to me,” McKenzie recently told RTI. “It means everything to me. My family has our roots there and I want to do everything I can to help Tennessee win football games. Right now, before I get there, I’m doing that by trying to get the best recruiting class ever to Tennessee.”

Based on what we’ve seen so far, betting against Kahlil McKenzie at this point seems like a bad idea. While top-ranked classes are extremely hard to come by, our guess is that the friendly, genuine and, most importantly, convincing defensive tackle from Concord, California won’t stop until he gets the job done.

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