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Tennessee Football: Kahlil McKenzie declares for the 2018 NFL Draft

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Surprising move.

NCAA Football: Tennessee Volunteers football practice Calvin Mattheis-USA TODAY Sports

A third junior has decided to forgo their senior season at Tennessee. John Kelly and Rashaan Gaulden made their decisions last week, now Kahlil McKenzie has joined them.

“I will be foregoing my senior season and entering the 2018 NFL Draft,” McKenzie said on Instagram.

McKenzie was a candidate to really make a jump next year playing in Jeremy Pruitt’s 3-4 scheme, potentially playing nose tackle. Somewhat curiously, he’s chosen a different route.

He’ll finish his Tennessee career with 72 total tackles (5.5 for loss) and three sacks after appearing in 31 career games. McKenzie registered a career high in tackles against Georgia Tech to open the 2017 season with eight.

The former five star defensive tackle never really found his groove on the football field in Knoxville. This is a pretty big surprise — one that wasn’t on my radar at all. We’ll see how it plays out for him.