Class of 2015 defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie appears to have a long and bright career in football ahead of him, but he is bidding the place where he started that career - Green Bay, Wis. - a farewell.
McKenzie is the son of former Green Bay Packers director of football operations and current Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie. The elder McKenzie took his position with the Raiders' organization last January, and his son will join him in Oakland after the conclusion of his sophomore year of high school, meaning he will be leaving his friends and teammates behind.
"It's definitely my last year here in Wisconsin," McKenzie said. "It is a bittersweet thing. I know the level of play is going to get better in California, but I'm going to miss all the guys that I played with since I was real little."
McKenzie and his father are looking at schools in the Oakland area but have not determined which program he will attend starting next fall.
While McKenzie looks for a new prep home, he also is looking further into the future and considering which college he may attend once his high school career is over. While college coaches are extremely limited in the contact they can have with sophomore prospects, the 6-foot-3, 270-pound McKenzie already has shown the talents to merit high Division I interest, and plans to take that further this off-season.
"I probably won't know more until the start of my junior year when I start going to camps this summer," McKenzie said. "My dad was telling me that I am going to go to Wisconsin's [camp], he wants me to go to some Northern California camps like Stanford and Cal and he wants me to go to his alma mater, Tennessee. Then, I am going to try to make it out to Oklahoma."
The only school McKenzie was able to visit this fall was Wisconsin. He attended the Badgers' home game against Illinois on Oct. 6.
"I liked their presentation and how they treat them as students first," McKenzie said. "It wasn't the cleanest of games, but they still got out of there with the win."
Green Bay Southwest's season ended this past weekend in the WIAA Division 2 state quarterfinals. McKenzie ended the year with 41 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown.