2009 Prospcet: Devon Kennard

Last year Arizona produced the top defensive end prospect of the 2007 class in the form of Everson Griffin. That honor may go to another Arizona product in 2009 as well. Junior Devon Kennard of Desert Vista High School (Phoenix, Ariz.) is a one-man wrecking crew on defense. He's a true difference maker on the field.

Notre Dame needs to build depth with the 2009 class and a player like Devon Kennard (6-foot-3.5, 235 pounds) would go a long way toward establishing quality depth. Desert Vista head coach Dan Hinds has spoken with the Notre Dame coaches about Devon, which likely means that he'll be a top prospect for the Irish.

"They've stopped by to see him, so they are very interested in him," coach Hinds responded when asked if the Irish had expressed interest in Kennard. "They came out last spring to look at a couple of our seniors and they also asked about Devon as well. They've shown great interest and they seem to be real excited about him.

"He plays defensive end for us. He plays both sides of the line for us, strong-side and weak-side. He requires a double-team every play, so we move him around. We've talked about standing him up and playing him at linebacker, because everyone keeps running away from him."

Despite the opposition's gameplan to avoid Kennard, he's having a monster year.

"I believe he has 25 sacks already and well over 100 tackles," Coach Hinds said. "People just have trouble blocking him. Last week he sacked the quarterback, scooped the ball and scored. He made it look easy too. He runs really well. We have him playing fullback and tailback. He has great speed and he can run away from people.

"He has great get-off and great quickness. When the ball is snapped, he's on you. His older brother, Derek is the defensive line coach and he's just a great coach. He taught Devon how to strike. He'll strike you five or six different ways. He's got so much in his repertoire as far as moves go, that guys don't know what is coming next. Linemen don't have a chance. He strikes, he moves, he rips, he swims, and he'll bull rush you. He has great technique, great quickness, great explosion, great strength, and great speed. He's the total package.

"He's just one of those phenomenal kids all the way around," Hinds said. "He's a great football player, and he has a 3.9 g.p.a. He only has one ‘B' in his high school career."

Hinds is excited about Devon's future. He saw early on the Kennard had the potential to be a special player.

"He used to come to my camps when he was younger," coach Hinds explained. "He came up through the program, and he's just done a real nice job. All along we knew he was going to be something special, because he always stood head over heels above the other kids. He was always bigger than the other kids, but I think it was sometime during his freshman year when we knew he was going to be a great one.

"We had him on varsity his sophomore year. He started for us as a sophomore and he had around 90 tackles and 12 sacks last season. He was a first-team all-region kid. The biggest thing for him is that he's transformed his body in the weight room the past couple years. He's turned into muscle, so he's put together real well."

It would be great for the Notre Dame program to sign a player of Kennard's caliber, but it won't be easy, because just about everyone has their one on him.

"Pretty much everyone," coach Hinds responded when asked to list the schools that have been sending Devon recruiting literature. "The entire PAC-10, Florida, LSU there are a lot of schools after him. LSU has offered, USC, Oregon, Florida, Arizona State, Arizona, Stanford, and Oregon State."

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories