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Decision Day: Time for Kahlil to Come Home to Rocky Top

Today's Talking Points is jam packed with news from the Opening…. Cecil Cherry striking fear into offensive players everywhere…. Peyton is #1…CP wants the ball….. Kahlil McKenzie demoralizing and destroying offensive linemen… and all of Volnation will join the Bucket Gang tonight.


Today is the day: Kahlil McKenzie

The Vols 2014 class was dubbed the "Legacy Class" with the likes of Dillion Bates, Elliot and Evan Berry, Neiko Creamer, Vic Wharton, and Todd Kelly Jr.  Today, another Tennessee legacy announces his commitment. Five-star DT Kahlil McKenzie will choose between the Vols and Arizona Wildcats on national television at Nike's Opening camp in Oregon.  McKenzie, son of former Vol great Reggie McKenzie and nephew of former Vol Raleigh McKenzie, has climbed through the rankings to become one of the top prospects in the 2015 class.  Measuring 6'4" and 341 pounds, McKenzie is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. With freakish athletic ability and agility, Kahlil has the opportunity to be a day one starter for the Vols (given he chooses the orange bucket hat tonight).  McKenzie is a cornerstone of this recruiting class along with 5 star WR Preston Williams, who is also at the Opening.

Here is one example of Mckenzie's strength and freakish athletic ability.

There's more where that came from, grab some popcorn.

The Vols are the heavy favorite to land McKenzie, with 98% of the crystal ball predictions on 247sports all going toward the Big Orange.  Head coach Butch Jones has put in extra work recruiting Kahlil to UT, even going so far as to tweet a picture of a Tennessee bucket hat in a different location every day for around a month leading up to McKenzie's announcement.  The bucket hat was donned by the likes of Jon Gruden, Jamal Lewis, Eric Berry, Butch himself, and the great Peyton Manning.  Let's take a look at some of the more notable bucket sightings from the past month.

All of Butch's hard work should pay off tonight when Kahlil picks the orange bucket hat.  You can watch McKenzie's commitment live on ESPNU between 8-11pm EST. A specific time has not been announced yet.

More from the Opening

Cecil Cherry striking fear into Running Backs (and every other offensive player)

The 4-star LB commit from Frostproof, FL, the same high school that produced Travis Henry, has been one of the more impressive linebackers so far at Nike's Opening Camp, according to Barton Simmons.

Cherry made a nice play in 1 on 1's, forcing a fumble and showing some quick closing speed.

Now imagine what Cherry would have done to that poor running back if they were in pads.  Cherry, who reminds me of a mix of Travis Henry and Al Wilson, has continued to work on his speed and agility. I'm pretty sure he has everything else down pretty well.

Preston Williams and Van Jefferson impress

Five-star WR commit Preston Williams and 4-star WR target Van Jefferson impressed yesterday during drills and the 7 on 7 tournament.  Williams had several catches and nearly broke a DB's ankles after a nice juke,  Jefferson had a long TD reception during the 7 on 7 tournament.  Here is a highlight video of WR vs DB action from the Opening yesterday.

Vol Targets at the Opening

Five-star DE Josh Sweat continues to impress with his freakish athletic ability.  Sweat had a lot of success in 1 on 1's and had an impressive weight ball toss distance, the Vols remain in the running for Sweat along with the home state VT Hokies and the Georgia Bulldogs.

DB Rico McGraw, DT Time Settle, LB Quarte Sapp, OL Drew Richmond, WR Van Jefferson, WR Christian Kirk, RB Bryce Love are all also in attendance. You can keep up with updates in this thread on govols247 from analyst in attendance at the Opening.

Vols announce player representatives for SEC Media days

Yesterday the player representatives were announced for SEC Media days next week in Birmingham, AL.  The three players who will accompany Butch Jones are C Mack Crowder, LB AJ Johnson and LB Curt Maggitt. UT will meet with the media on Tuesday, July 15.

Peyton named #1 player in the NFL and CP wants the ball in his hands

Peyton Manning was named the #1 player in the NFL by the NFL network yesterday, the list includes the top 100 ranked players in the league.  Shockingly, this is the first time Manning has been named #1 on the list since the NFL Network began doing the rankings.

Cordarelle Patterson is a rare breed, and he knows he is special.  The former UT star, heading into his second season with the Minnesota Vikings told he would be a "Top 5 playmaker in 2014." We have seen firsthand just how special CP is, and the whole NFL may find out just how talented he is this season.

As promised, more videos of Kahlil McKenzie destroying OL

In the words of a wise man, "There's no such thing as too many videos of Kahlil wreaking havoc, just like there is no such thing as having too many ice cream sandwiches in the freezer." Go Vols!