The William M. Raines (Fla.) High School standout may have an advanced base of knowledge of what's in store for him at the collegiate level, but just what kind of student-athlete is Tennessee getting?
"I've been doing this for 12 years and he's probably the finest young man that I've coached; he's in my top three," Raines coach Deran Wiley told InsideTennessee. "He's a character guy. He's the face of the program. He can be the face of anyone's program. He's just a very, very, very good person. The kind of person that you hate to see leave to be honest with you. It's almost like I wish I could have him the next 5-6-7 years, as long as I'm coaching."
A longtime verbal commitment to Cincinnati, Bynum was forced to shift gears near National Signing Day when the Volunteers cranked up their pursuit of the 6-foot-2, 228-pounder. The linebacker Wiley describes as "a coach's dream" became the final signee in the Class of 2012.
"Kenny is a hard worker; he's not scared to work," Wiley said. "As a coach, that's what you really, really admire as well — not lazy at all."
Wiley just finished up his third season as a head coach. The 37-year-old knows a thing or two about what's ahead for Bynum on the next level, having played defensive back at Louisville 1995-97. Wiley has first-hand experience of what some of the coaching Bynum's going to receive is like per his history with first-year Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri.
|Former first-round pick and wide receiver Rod Gardner played his high school football at William M. Raines.|
"I get a call from coach Sunseri, and he doesn't know who he's talking to," Wiley said with a chuckle. "He said his name, and I started laughing. Coach was like, 'What you laughin' at?' I said, 'Coach, this is Deran Wiley of the University of Louisville.' And, he just went bananas. He said. 'You're coaching?' I said, 'Yes sir.' So, we had a long conversation."
Wiley, who played at Raines himself, speaks with much pride of the standouts that have come through the Jacksonville, Fla., school, listing Derrick Alexander, Harold Carmichael, Brian Dawkins, Jabar Gaffney, Rod Gardner, Patrick Sapp, Lito Sheppard and Kevin Youngblood as a sample of elite talent the program has churned out.
Wiley doesn't see any reason why Bynum can't follow suit.
"Very instinctive," Wiley said. "He can be the extension of the coach on the field as he was his last two years. He can get everybody lined up. He can make all the checks. And, he loves the game."
In Sunseri's scheme, Wiley thinks the FOX Sports Next three-star prospect fits in at the MIKE spot.
"Oh yeah. He's going to be a stud. He can run sideline to sideline. He can lay the lumber too. "His body is just starting to come into its own. When he gets through (growing), Kenny will be about 6-3, 235. He's built for the middle," Wiley said.
Tennessee reports to Milligan College for preseason camp Aug. 9. The linebacker is confident and ready to compete.
"You know, put on a couple more pounds and learn the scheme, I think I'll do great," Bynum told InsideTennessee immediately following the Orange & White game on April 21.
In 2011, Raines advanced to the second round of the FHSAA Class 4A state playoffs before being eliminated by eventual state champion The Bolles School, which was its 11th state crown.
Bynum stayed in shape following football with wrestling. He's no slouch on the mat either as he placed third in the FHSAA Class 1A state tournament's 220-pound class. This spring he worked on his agility and endurance with Mixed Martial Arts training.
Bynum, who carried a 3.8 grade point average at Raines, enrolled at Tennessee this summer and plans on majoring in Chemistry.
Check out Bynum (11) in action from his prep days in the video below: