Varsity Preps

2015 DT Kahlil McKenzie Makes Big Move To Calif.

Being in a new city, on a new team in the middle of your high school career can be a setback for most. But for 2015 defensive tackle, Kahlil McKenzie, it’s a step toward a great future.

Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 305 lbs. Mckenzie is ready to get on the field and show California how it’s done.

Originally from Southwest High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Mckenzie grew up in the football world. His father, Reggie McKenzie, who was recently hired as the Oakland Raiders General Manager, has passed down not only the knowledge but the talent to his son. The elder McKenzie played for the Raiders from 1985-88 and for the 49ers in 1992.

Kahlil definitely has the talent as his team in WI went undefeated in the regular season last year and won the conference title for the first time in 37 years.

“I’m starting to get down their different techniques that they use [in CA], stuff like that. I mean it’s just going alright. It’s a slow process. There’s a lot to learn,” he said.

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Because of the move from WI, the McKenzie’s decided to take the summer off from camps and just focus on getting comfortable in their new home.

“I’ll just have a busy summer next year,” he said.

McKenzie’s new school, De La Salle in Concord, CA has a track record of talent. Players like Amani Toomer, D.J. Williams and Maurice Jones-Drew started their careers with the Spartans.

Not only is he playing with a top team, McKenzie gets encouragement and advice from big time NFL players. Since his move to Calif. he has visited the Raiders with his father.

“I get to speak to some players and they’ll tell me different stories about how they were recruited and their college experience… it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “They’re very welcoming and very open to help.”

He said the best advice he has received was to “take everything slow. Just not get too overwhelmed with things and worry about school first. If you do that then you don’t have to worry about anything else. Everything else will come along with that.”

McKenzie already has a path in mind for school. He is looking at a business administration degree.

Luckily for him, the schools recruiting him have great programs for that degree. Florida State, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Arkansas are the primary schools in the recruiting process. He has also received interest from LSU, Georgia, Louisville and Cincinnati.

He said he has no favorite “because right now I’m still working for that one scholarship offer.”

For McKenzie, it’s not the big impressive things that a school shows off, it’s the little things.

“I don’t like big cities, so if it’s a nice little small city but still has some cool things in it then I like that. I like little things. I’m not really into the whole “do you have amazing facilities.” I mean that kind of stuff is nice but I’m really more into the small things that a school might have,” he said.

With his background in football, having a good coach is also important to him.

“I’m looking for a coach who is going to be an awesome human being. Someone who is going to not baby you but tell you exactly what you need to hear that’s going to tell you when you’ve been doing things right and when you’ve been doing things wrong,” he said.

“So, not going to sugar coat anything and help you be the best player that you can be.”

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