Alabama beefed up its offensive line again Friday morning, adding a fourth 4-star commitment to its ranks. Brandon Kennedy, an in-state 2015 standout, chose the Crimson Tide over Auburn during an announcement ceremony at Wetumpka High School:
Brandon Kennedy from Wetumpka commits to Alabama. pic.twitter.com/fv8D5AD5s3— Kirk Nawrotzky (@KirkNawrotzky) July 18, 2014
The 6'2.5", 295-pound prospect provides Nick Saban with yet another option in his expansive arsenal of elite blockers. Kennedy, rated 16th nationally among offensive guards in 247Sports' composite rankings, pledged to the program one month after receiving an offer while attending a camp in Tuscaloosa.
He landed an Auburn offer the same day, setting the stage for the latest skirmish in a series of recruiting showdowns between the bitter SEC rivals. The teams routinely go toe-to-toe for Alabama's top talent.
Alabama gained an edge in this battle thanks in large part to offensive line coach Mario Cristobal, who continues to emerge as a highly effective recruiter.
"It was good to talk to (Cristobal)," Kennedy told Charles Power of 247Sports (subscription required). "He's always fired up and intense. Great guy."
Cristobal is in an enviable position when it comes to depth along the offensive line.
Alabama welcomed five freshman offensive linemen to campus this summer, including four 4-stars and top-ranked 2014 tackle Cameron Robinson. Dating back to 2013, Saban has secured commitments from 10 4-star offensive linemen and two 5-stars.
Clearly, Kennedy isn't afraid to compete for playing time.
He projects as a stout interior lineman who is already a polished run-blocker. His hand placement is consistent and he's quick to get his paws on an opponent, gaining immediate leverage.
Kennedy doesn't rely on his size to do the work for him, persistently pushing defenders downfield with a strong base. It's also important to note his aggressiveness, which shines on game film and provides an indication that he's intent on finishing off plays through the whistle.
He displays enough short-area quickness to disengage from his initial assignment in time to take out a linebacker or safety at the second level. Kennedy's biggest improvement must come as a pass-blocker, but he'll have the benefit of spending at least a few seasons polishing his overall technique as a reserve.
Alabama could implement Kennedy as a center or guard at the next level, depending on roster needs.
Wetumpka head coach Tim Perry praised his diligence.
"He works hard and is very coachable," Perry told John Talty of AL.com. "He's a very conscientious athlete. He wants to improve, pushes himself and does everything that you ask him to do."
That effort earned Kennedy a vast collection of offers that includes Clemson, Louisville, Tennessee and Ole Miss.
Recruit ratings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.