Five-Star DE Interested in Heels

When John Blake hit the road for the Evaluation Period Monday, one of his first stops was Phoenix to check out Devon Kennard, a five-star recruit and the top ranked defensive end in the country.

"He couldn't talk to me [while visiting my school], but when I get a chance to call Coach Blake he has a lot of history, and he's great coach," Kennard said. "That obviously puts North Carolina in a great situation for me. I just have to go down there and see how it is."

Although he hasn't established any definite plans, Kennard, a 6-foot-3, 260-pounder, figures to unofficially visit UNC over the summer.

"I really plan on coming down this summer for a camp, maybe get a chance to work hands on with Coach Blake," Kennard said.

Kennard also plans to attend a camp at USC. He has already unofficially visited Arizona State, Texas, UCLA, and USC.

In addition to Blake, coaches from Arizona State, California, Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, UCLA, and USC have visited Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista High School to further evaluate Kennard, who holds approximately 30 scholarship offers.

Prior to Blake's evaluation visit, Blake and Kennard have had several phone conversations.

"He is such a great guy [we talk about] anything," Kennard said. "I call him and he's starting to mentor me already – he's a great coach and he wants me to be successful in everything. [We discuss] what I can do in the offseason, what I'm doing, making sure I'm staying busy. He lets me know I have a lot of potential. He's a great guy."

Kennard is especially impressed by Blake's track record as a defensive line coach.

"He's a great coach, and he's put a lot of guys out [into the NFL] and has helped a lot of good players become great," Kennard said. "That's definitely something to look at, because it's a business. You want to be a part of a winning, good program, but you also want to work with a coach who is going to help you improve to the point where you can hopefully take it to the next level."

Regardless, Kennard isn't prepared to name favorites.

"I don't have a top [school] or anything," Kennard said. "I'm just trying to get a feel for things, see where I feel comfortable.

"The schools I've visited so far, they all seem like great programs. But I really have to see what's where for me."

Kennard is in no rush with his recruitment.

"This is an important decision for me, so I'm going to take my time making it," Kennard said. "I'm in no hurry.

"If I was ready at the end of the year or the end of the summer then I would commit. But if not, I'm not going to commit just to commit somewhere."

Kennard has a laundry list of items he'll be researching before selecting his college destination.

"It has to be a place where I can live, I have to like the coaching staff, a place where I can really develop my skills and get better, I want to be apart of a big program – I try to look at all the aspects," Kennard said.

Additionally, Kennard is looking for a chance to earn playing time as a freshman.

"I feel like I'm a hard worker and I'm going to go to a place where I'm going to have an opportunity to compete for a spot," Kennard said. "I want to see the field during my freshman year and hopefully be the guy after that."

At Desert Vista, Kennard worked his way onto varsity his freshman year as a special teams contributor. The following season he earned a starting role at defensive end. Last fall, Kennard recorded 111 tackles and 24 ½ sacks for Desert Vista.

Devon Kennard Profile

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