Tennessee has one of the top 150 players in the nation on its roster, according to a new list released from NFL.com, but it might not be the top player you expect.
Junior defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie checks in at No. 134 in the nation on the list put together by draft scout Chad Reuter that came out on Monday.
McKenzie, ranked as high as the No. 1 player in the nation coming out of high school in California, hasn’t quite lived up to those lofty expectations yet through two years on campus. He struggled with his size and conditioning as a freshman in 2015, appearing as a reserve in 13 games and recording 24 tackles, one sack and one TFL. His sophomore season in 2016 was cut short by a pectoral injury, limiting him to just seven game appearances.
The son of Oakland Raiders GM Reggie Mckenzie, who also played for the Vols, Kahlil McKenzie certainly still has plenty of upside, and very well could turn into an NFL-caliber player over the next couple of seasons in Knoxville.
But it might be surprising to some who follow Tennessee to see McKenzie make the list over some other Tennessee players such as receiver Jauan Jennings, linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr., safety Todd Kelly Jr., and even fellow defensive tackle Shy Tuttle, who has also been limited by injuries the past couple years.
Reuter ranked Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and USC quarterback Sam Darnold as the top three players in the nation this year.