Tennessee is the team to beat for dominant defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie.
The 5-star prospect opened up his recruitment process to the public Thursday evening, declaring a list of 12 favorites in order of preference on Twitter:
Top 12 pic.twitter.com/jRDws6KnCL— Kahlil McKenzie (@Big_Ballin_77) May 22, 2014
Though there are nearly nine months remaining until national signing day, this is becoming a bit of a trend for the Volunteers. Tennessee is also currently listed as the No. 1 choice for 5-star quarterback Torrance Gibson and 5-star defensive tackle Tim Settle, who unveiled lengthy lists of their own this spring.
These developments are another sign of the strides head coach Butch Jones has made on the recruiting trail since arriving in Knoxville. He secured the nation's seventh-ranked class during the 2014 cycle, and his still-expanding haul of 2015 talent is rated ninth nationally in 247Sports' composite rankings.
It's impressive stuff for a squad that finished 2-6 against SEC opponents last season.
McKenzie, a 6'4", 309-pound De La Salle High School (Concord, Calif.) product, is rated No. 2 nationally among defensive tackles by 247Sports. He is listed as the nation's No. 10 overall prospect.
Tennessee is on top for now, but several squads could make up ground down the line.
Arizona, USC, Wisconsin and Oklahoma each appeared on a top-five list he released last month and still maintain that status. Alabama, a team that didn't offer until after he released that initial list, comes in at No. 8 among McKenzie's top 12.
He enjoyed an outstanding junior season, tallying 74 tackles and 12 sacks. His nationwide recruitment continues to heat up and, with at least 12 programs still in the mix, shows no signs of slowing down.
McKenzie is the son of Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who played linebacker at Tennessee. His uncle, Raleigh McKenzie, suited up on the offensive line as a Volunteer before moving on to the NFL.
Recruit information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.