Coach Spotlight: Jaborian McKenzie

Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie gave his commitment to the Vanderbilt program in mid-June. At Trinity Episcopal Day School in Natchez, Miss., he turned in another outstanding performance in his senior season for Head Coach David King. The 5-foot-9, 180-athlete played all over the field for the Saints, who were going for their third straight MAIS Class A state title in 2011.


"Tip's a remarkable athlete and also a great kid," Coach King said of his star player. "Last year we had a good team, but he really put us over the top to go undefeated and win state. We used him on both sides of the ball and on special teams."

At wide receiver, McKenzie averaged a startling 29.9 yards per catch with 35 receptions for 1,046 yards and 16 touchdowns. When they put him in the backfield at running back or in the Wildcat he had 78 carries for 697 for an average of 8.9 yards-per-carry with eight touchdowns.

McKenzie even showed off his versatility by throwing three touchdown passes. On special teams, he had two punt returns and two kickoff returns for touchdowns. In the secondary, McKenzie had six interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. He made 66 tackles, eight pass breakups, and forced a fumble.

"I think Vanderbilt is going to put him at the slot and will be able to do a lot of different things with his breakaway speed," said King. "Tip's an elusive player after the catch and can weave his way and get you extra yards or shake loose and take it to the house. He also has great hands and doesn't drop many balls."

Recruited by wide receivers coach Chris Beatty, slot receiver would probably make the most sense, but the staff could possible use him at cornerback, running back, or add his big-play ability to the special teams unit. Coach King just knows the school is getting a great young man.

"Tip hasn't let any of the recruiting attention get to his head," King explained. "He's an unselfish teammate and has always been that way since he came in last year.

"Vanderbilt did a great job recruiting him. He has several offers, but liked the idea of going to one of the best academic schools in the nation and playing receiver in the SEC."

McKenzie played in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) All-Star game at Mississippi College in Clinton after the season. During the winter he's playing with the varsity basketball team.

Before moving to Natchez to live with their father Shedrick, Tip and younger brother, Trae, played at Wilkinson County Christian Academy in Woodale, Miss. McKenzie made an immediate impact at his new school. He scored the game's first touchdown on a 73-yard punt return to set the tone in the 46-14 route in the 2010 state championship game against Tri-County Academy.

Although committed since June, Jaborian McKenzie has not taken his official visit to Vanderbilt. Coach King says he will do so the weekend of January 20th.

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