KNOXVILLE – Two years ago it was hard for Brett Kendrick to imagine being where he is today.
He completed his freshman season at Knoxville’s Grace Christian Academy, but the school was facing a two-year postseason ban. Dreams of winning a state championship and snaring attention from recruiters were distant.
That’s when the 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive tackle transferred to Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) for his sophomore season. With the 2011 Class 3A title already under his belt, Kendrick is hoping the summer will also yield an offer from the hometown Vols—something he’s always hoped for.
“I grew up in Tennessee, here in Knoxville, always being a huge Vol fan,” Kendrick said. “Ever since I could remember I was a Vol football fan. My family all loves Tennessee, so they'd all love to see me stay close to home so they could see me play. Tennessee is just close to home. It's the school I've always liked. It's awesome, I've loved it every time I've been there.”
The feeling is mutual. The Vols dispatched offensive line coach Sam Pittman to watch Kendrick, a rising senior for the Warriors, practice this spring.
Kendrick was also invited to Tennessee spring practice and the Orange and White Game. However, his most important date on campus will come on June 2—a visit to Vols’ summer camp and a chance to earn an offer.
“When they came to watch me at spring practice, they filmed me and took it back for Coach Dooley to watch,” Kendrick said. “They decided they wanted to see me at their camp, so that’s what I’m going to do to try to get the offer.”
The Vols won’t be the only team to receive a visit from Kendrick this summer. He said visiting Virginia Tech, Clemson, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Alabama and LSU will be a priority for him.
Kendrick was ready to end his recruitment this spring had the Vols extended a scholarship offer, but now plans to take several trips before making any final decisions.
“I told Tennessee earlier in the year that if they would have offered at spring practice, I would have taken it,” Kendrick said. “But they didn't offer then, so I told some of the other schools I would come to camps over the summer now, so I'd like to keep my word on that. I probably wouldn't accept (a Tennessee offer) right away, but after I go to the camps, if I still like Tennessee the best, I would take it after that.”
Kendrick credits his school’s state championship run in 2011 with giving him a big stage to attract colleges. He's also grateful for the work his high school coach put in to get his film out. CAK coach Rusty Bradley sent a highlight tape to 97 schools initially.
Kendrick is not the only player from CAK getting attention from the Vols and other programs. Quarterback Charlie High and receiver Josh Smith, both key members of the Warriors’ high-flying offense in 2011, are also receiving plenty of interest.
None of the trio has an offer from Tennessee yet, but Kendrick can envision a best-case scenario for he and his teammates.
“We've talked about it,” Kendrick said. “All three of us would like to go to the same place. I would like it if all three of us could end up at Tennessee—that's what I'd really like to do.”