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2021 LB Mckenzie commits at Paradise, details "amazing" weekend

2021 LB Mckenzie commits at Paradise, details "amazing" weekend

Stefan Adams
The way 2021 Lakewood (FL) LB Cortez Mckenzie tells it, he planned to keep his recruitment open past this weekend. However, the excitement provided by Paradise Camp and its related events, as well as UM’s beautiful campus, were too much for Mckenzie, and he committed to the Miami staff on Saturday during the day.

“It was real exciting, real good. Well, at first, I didn’t know I was going to commit. I was going up there, Paradise weekend - I really just wanted to tour the campus out,” Mckenzie said. “The night before the camp, they had a party with the players, the alumni, and all the coaches. I was just walking around meeting all the players. We connected well, we made that connection right away. They welcomed me and made me feel that brotherhood.

“Then the next day, I was touring the campus with coach. I just loved everything about it, all the new stuff they’re building around the campus. It was just a nice campus and then I committed.”

A major attraction of Paradise is being able to interact with current and former NFL stars. Over the weekend, Mckenzie met a ton of former Hurricanes stars and was in awe of the experience.

“I met Jon Beason, Rohan Marley - he’s funny. Michael Irvin, Jeremy Shockey, Rayshawn Jenkins, Duke Johnson,” Mckenzie said. “I pretty much introduced myself to everybody out there. I had an amazing time.”

Over at Lakewood High, Mckenzie is teammates with current Miami 2020 DT commit Tre’von Riggins. Riggins has been in Mckenzie’s ear since he got his UM offer last month and Mckenzie credits Riggins on having an impact on his decision.

“Yeah, he kind of did, because that’s my brother,” Mckenzie said of Riggins. “We went to the same high school, I’m with him almost every other day. He was like ‘Miami’s a fit for you. It’s LBU, you’re one of the best linebackers coming out of Florida. Why would you not want to go to Linebacker University?’”

Although Mckenzie is currently unranked, his tape suggests that won’t last much longer. Going up against a loaded field of talent at Paradise, Mckenzie felt he more than held his own and proved himself.

“I’m definitely underrated, I stopped Don Chaney,” Mckenzie said. “When I first went up against him, he ran an out route and I came up under it, but I dropped the pick. So I felt like I did good, I’m out here stopping 5-stars. And then he tried to get me in the cat and mouse drill twice and I shut him down in the cat and mouse drill.”

After spending some time watching film with outside linebackers coach Jon Patke, Mckenzie feels that he would be an ideal fit for striker in the Hurricanes’ defense. Apparently, Patke agrees.

“I watched film with coach and he was showing me how they have a position called striker,” Mckenzie said. “The striker is moving around a lot, rushing the quarterback. He could show them a blitz and he could drop back in coverage. He’s pretty much doing whatever he wants the whole game, he’s reading the field. It’s the same thing I’m doing in my high school pretty much at outside linebacker.”

Mckenzie is still getting to know his 2021 classmates, but he did get to spend some time with one of his fellow commits at Paradise.

“I ran into Big Baby (Laurence Seymore),” Mckenzie said. “That was the only 2021 dude I knew at the time. I’m still learning people’s names and faces.”

In 2018, Mckenzie’s sophomore season was cut short by concussion issues. Although he only participated in 5 games, he still was very productive, recording 40 tackles, 10 TFL, and 6 sacks for the Spartans. At 6-0, 195 pounds right now, Mckenzie wants to add on another 5 pounds before his junior season.

“I’m all good now. I played in the spring game and had 8 tackles and 3 sacks,” Mckenzie said. “That gave me the confidence for the season, so now you know I’m bringing that pressure. If you watch my spring film, you can tell I got a little better rushing the quarterback. I’m much faster, I’m bigger.”

What’s his plan for his career when he gets to Miami?

“I plan to come in there, play right away, and shine for 3 years - be 3 years and done.”

 

Comments (35)

...seeing how he posted a tweet a few minutes back about his recruitment 100% being open.... then quickly deleted it after he started getting hell for it
 
Nice write-up, thanks!. Welcome to the U, young man!
 
May be kind of hard to drop Riggins if they like this dude.
 
This kid can "ball". Waiting a whole year and a half is a long time to hold my breathe.
 
...seeing how he posted a tweet a few minutes back about his recruitment 100% being open.... then quickly deleted it after he started getting hell for it
Lol not surprising at all. I think manny and co should hold off taking commits from the younger classes after a weekend visit. Those post visits highs can be crazy. A kid like this who has 2 years left i think you tell him after the visit “hey we want you but don’t want you to make a rash decision and then decommit later. So go home, think about it, talk to your parents and then decide if you want to commit. Obviously if it’s a kid that’s signing on the upcoming signing day you just take it and worry about the other stuff later.

Just my opinion. I could be wrong.
 
29 tackles??

"Pass Rusher" specialist more than likely not starting is a situational player. I have zero issues with that. Not everyone is a starter. Nanton one of my favorite Canes was just like this.
 
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"Pass Rusher" specialist more than likely not starting is a situational player. I have zero issues with that. Not everyone is a starter. Nanton one of my favorite Canes was just like this.
29 tackles is odd I think its a typo
 
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