Season Wrap-Up: Bryce Kennedy

With Southern Pines (N.C.) Pinecrest relying more on its passing game this season, North Carolina commitment Bryce Kennedy was provided the opportunity to fine tune his pass protection skills.

"My pass blocking got better this year," Kennedy said. "We've always worked on it in practice, but didn't get to use it too much in games prior to this season. This season we passed a lot more, so I got a lot of game experience in pass blocking."

Kennedy started and primarily played left tackle for Pinecrest. But due to his lack of ideal size, UNC is recruiting the 6-foot-3, 285-pounder as an interior player with the possibility of grooming him for center. In preparation for the move, Kennedy worked on snapping during preseason practice. During the season, though, his focus was solely on the upcoming opponent.

The plan heading into the season was to integrate Kennedy for the first time into Pinecrest's defense along the line. However, after he rolled his ankle during his first game of playing both ways, that plan was squashed.

"After that, the coaches were like ‘No more defense for you,'" Kennedy said. "I loved playing defense. I told Coach, I'd play it if they needed me. But he didn't want to risk me getting hurt."

Kennedy's senior season ended in the first round of the NCHSAA 4AA playoffs. After posting a 5-6 regular season record, Pinecrest received the eighth seed in the Midwest pod and drew top seeded Greensboro (N.C.) Page. On paper, Pinecrest was overmatched by Page, which boasts NC State pledge James Summers and remains undefeated heading into its Midwest finalwith Matthews (N.C.) Butler this Friday. However, Pinecrest held its own battling to a 0-0 halftime score before losing, 21-0.

"We played pretty well," Kennedy said. "I wouldn't say the team gave up, because we tried. But things just weren't going our way."

With his football season over, Kennedy's focus is getting his academics in order for his December graduation and January enrollment at UNC.

"I'm in accelerated classes right now, so I won't have too many exams at the end," Kennedy said. "I'm working on getting my schedule for Carolina and I want to go up there to see my classes."

Kennedy will attend the Tar Heels' season finale against Duke in a couple Saturdays. During that trip, he plans to schedule his UNC official visit, which should include an in-depth look at his spring semester classes.

Although he admits the uncertainty surrounding UNC is on his mind, Kennedy believes in the end he'll honor the verbal commitment he made to the Tar Heels in early October.

"Right now, I'm pretty firm with Carolina," Kennedy said. "If something were to happen with the coaching staff, I would stick to my commitment but I might look around a little to make sure I have options just in case. I hope Coach [Sam] Pittman stays – he's such a great coach."

Besides UNC, Kennedy says he still hears from East Carolina and NC State.

Bryce Kennedy Profile

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