Kahlil McKenzie commits to join Tennessee football’s 2015 class


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Kahlil McKenzie kept in in the family.

The 2015 five-star defensive tackle who plans to play his final high school season for Clayton Valley Charter in Concord, Calif., verbally committed to the Tennessee football team Thursday night during ESPNU’s coverage of Nike’s The Opening, an elite high school football camp in Oregon.

McKenzie (6-foot-4, 341 pounds) picked the Vols over Arizona. He will follow in the footsteps of two former NFL players in his family. His father, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, and his uncle, Oakland Raiders scout Raleigh McKenzie, both starred for Austin-East High School and the Vols before they were picked in the 1985 NFL Draft.

Scouting service 247Sports ranks McKenzie as the No. 10 player overall and the No. 2 defensive tackle in the 2015 class.

For Tennessee football coach Butch Jones, his creative approach to recruiting McKenzie paid off.

McKenzie fancies bucket hats, so Jones placed them pretty much everywhere and sent McKenzie photos.

On Thursday night, McKenzie picked the Vols by plopping an orange and white bucket hat atop his head.

Jones was watching.

Tennessee now has 20 commitments for 2015.