For years, Brett Kendrick watched Tennessee football games and dreamed of running through the 'T.' He told recruiting writers he doesn't recall ever missing a game.
It appears the Christian Academy of Knoxville rising senior offensive tackle will get the opportunity to fulfill that dream. He committed to the Vols and offensive line coach Sam Pittman during UT's lineman camp Saturday afternoon. Kendrick becomes UT's eighth overall commitment and second offensive line pledge in this year's class, joining Cleveland's Austin Sanders.
With offensive line being a huge need this season for UT, the Vols are right in the mix for several top-tier prospects such as Derwin Gray, Darius Latham [who the Vols are recruiting to play defensive line], Tyrone Crowder, Dorian Miller and Tylar Reagan. Reagan also is at UT's camp this weekend and has the Vols out front.
There was never really a doubt who Kendrick would pick if UT offered. He and Pittman had discussions earlier this summer, and Pittman asked Kendrick if he'd commit on the spot if the Vols offered. He said he would, but UT held off, wanting to see what Kendrick could do at a lineman camp. The competition Kendrick plays at CAK -- which won last year's state championship -- isn't top-notch, and Kendrick doesn't normally get the opportunity to run block playing in such a wide-open, pass-happy offense directed by record-setting quarterback Charlie High.
The Vols wanted to see Kendrick run block some more and watch his mechanics up close and personal at camp. He did that on Saturday, got the offer and committed on the spot. Kendrick had just one offer received earlier this week, which came from Arkansas State. He was slated to attend some SEC camps this summer, including Alabama and Georgia in attempts to earn more offers. However, it would be difficult seeing Kendrick back off the commitment to his lifelong favorite. High is also trying to earn a UT offer and will camp later this summer.
Kendrick has great size and likely projects as a guard prospect at the next level, due to a lack of quickness. He will probably be rusty run blocking because he hasn't done much of it in high school and won't again this year. But Pittman has historically been a very good talent evaluator, and the coach liked what he saw from the local product. Kendrick probably needs a bit more of a mean streak and will have to take some adjusting to bullying in the run game before he ever steps on the field, but he is a prospect with solid potential who was invited to camps by some of the top programs in the country and unquestionably would have earned some strong offers before his season was over.
Personally, I haven't seen any film on Kendrick, and I likely won't watch any due to his being part of a pass-happy program, but I am thrilled that he worked hard to earn the offer he wanted and pledged on the spot.
As an old offensive lineman who prepped in-state, I have a soft spot in my heart for homeboys who bleed orange and get to wear it, and our university has a rich history of developing elite in-state offensive lineman, regardless of recruiting ranking. I hope Kendrick performs well enough to improve his rating for team rankings purposes and because I know he probably wants to be ranked high. But there is often no rhyme or reason to OL rankings, and -- I've said it many times before -- if coaches evaluate them at camps and like what they see, you have to like offering.
Kendrick and the Vols will see a lot of each other I'm sure over the course of the next season, and hopefully Kendrick will be driven to be the best for his favorite team. I'm thrilled he worked hard to earn his offer, and the Vols are excited to have him on board. Welcome into the Big Orange family, Mr. Kendrick.