Brandon Kennedy’s path to the NFL Draft is as unique as it gets. Despite starting his collegiate career at Alabama, he spent his last few years of eligibility at Tennessee.
Injuries prevented Kennedy from seeing the field early in his career, but he didn’t let that affect his mindset. Once the talented offensive lineman was cleared for action, he made the most out of his opportunity.
During the 2019 season, Kennedy started in all 13 games and was one of Tennessee’s highest-graded offensive linemen. His production that year led to him being on the Rimington Trophy Watch List for the 2020 season.
While his success on the field is worth mentioning, what Kennedy accomplishes from the gridiron is equally impressive. The former Volunteers offensive lineman has master’s degrees in agricultural leadership and sports psychology. As a result, he was named the NFF National Scholar-Athlete in 2020.
We recently caught up with Brandon Kennedy to discuss his career at Tennessee, preparation for the NFL Draft, and his studies off the field. Let’s get this interview started.
The Spun: How’s this experience been so far as you prepare for the draft?
Brandon Kennedy: The experience is something new, but I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I had the opportunity to play in two All-Star games, the Hula Bowl and the Tropical Bowl. That was fun and kind of jumpstarted the process.My body feels great throughout this training process, and I think I’m getting stronger and more flexible.
The Spun: You finished college with two master’s degrees. Can you just tell me about your off-field studies and why they were so important to you?
BK: It all started before I got into college. My ultimate goal was to get my degree. I got my first one from Alabama in psychology with a minor in biology. And then going off that, I wanted to pursue a graduate degree that was in sports psychology. I had an injury in 2017 and coming back from that I needed help mentally. I spoke with a clinical psychologist, and just off of that and the things he told me, I felt like it’d be best to get my master in sports psychology. The second master is agricultural leadership, which I thought made sense because I was a leader of the team. Those two degrees helped me on the field, and I think they’ll help me in the future.
The NFF Scholar-Athlete of the Day, presented by @Fidelity, is 2020 NFF National Scholar-Athlete & #CampbellTrophy finalist @bk_the_kingpin, @Vol_Football OL and psychology graduate with two master’s degrees#GBO #FutureForFootball pic.twitter.com/V1tKxYU3fa
— Football Foundation (@NFFNetwork) January 28, 2021
The Spun: You transferred from Alabama. What would you say was different about Nick Saban compared to your other coaches?
BK: I think the biggest thing about Nick Saban is that it’s more of a business, you know what I’m saying? That’s not a bad thing, but everything there is ran in a business sense. So basically it comes down to what’s going to help you win. I think that’s what has contributed to their success as a team. With [Jeremy] Pruitt, I think he’s more of a personable coach. I think that’s the biggest difference.
The Spun: What was your initial reaction to Tennessee firing coach Pruitt?
BK: It kinda shocked me because everything happened so fast. Even though I wasn’t in the program anymore, just seeing Coach Pruitt leave – you know, I love Coach Pruitt – I was shocked.
The Spun: Who do you think will be the Volunteers’ starting quarterback next season?
BK: I think Harrison Bailey got a lot of experience at the end of the year. That’s somebody who might have the edge due to that experience.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) October 1, 2020
The Spun: Who’s the best defensive lineman you faced?
BK: There are two that come to mind. The first would be Javon Kinlaw of South Carolina. I think he was really good when we played him in 2019. This past season it’d be Quinton Bohanna from Kentucky. He is pretty good as well.
The Spun: What are you working on the most as you get ready for the NFL?
BK: The biggest thing is flexibility, so I’m working a lot on ankle flexibility and explosion. Going to the technical side, as far as zone blocking goes I’m trying to make sure I have the right angles to create power.
The Spun: Do you prefer to run block or pass block?
BK: I like to run block. I like to be physical and I pride myself on that every game.
TEN IOL Brandon Kennedy (@bk_the_kingpin) on if body blows matter:
“If you hit your opponent in the mouth every play, by the fourth quarter it changes their mindset. If I can be physical and show him I want it more, hes gonna give up at some point”
Enjoyed talking with this guy
— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) February 11, 2021
The Spun: Which NFL teams have you met with?
BK: When I was at the Tropical Bowl I had the chance to meet with the Eagles, Giants, Bears and Titans.
The Spun: Are there any offensive linemen you watch on film?
BK: Most definitely. I watch a lot of film during the offseason. One player that I really like to watch is Rodney Hudson from the Raiders. I like how he approaches the game. He’s very intelligent and I feel like we have similar tendencies.
— Brandon Kennedy (@bk_the_kingpin) February 20, 2021
The Spun: Which defensive players in the NFL do you want to face?
BK: That’s something I actually never thought about. It would be great to go against a Tennessee defensive lineman like a Shy Tuttle.
The Spun: Outside of football and film study, what do you do to ease your mind?
BK: It’s definitely playing PS5. I like to play Madden. Also, I like to listen to podcasts about sports psychology because I’m very interested in that subject as you can tell by my master’s degree.
The Spun: Why should a team draft Brandon Kennedy?
BK: I think because of the traits I bring to the table as far as intelligence. I’ve been in multiple offenses and had to learn how to adjust to different schemes. I also have a great work ethic. I’ve been through two major injuries in college, but I bounced back and was able to play in all the games the past two seasons. My intelligence, work ethic, and me being determined. When you get a guy like me, I’m going to be consistent day in and day out. That’s what I’d tell NFL teams.
Let’s get to work! pic.twitter.com/xDJaGnBE4d
— A3 Athletics (@aThreeAthletics) January 27, 2021
Kennedy has the athleticism and intelligence to be a savvy center in the NFL. Tennessee fans will find out where he’ll continue his football career in roughly two months.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.
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