McKenzie sprints across the line
By By Matthew Nascone
Brandon McKenzie posted 97 tackles and 14 sacks in his senior football season for the Escambia County Blue Devils and he smoked the competition on the track, winning by a sizable margin every time he hits the pavement.
He won the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.66 seconds one time and that blinding speed is what helped him land a football scholarship to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
"It feels good to move on to the next level," McKenzie said. "I can't wait to go there and prove myself so I can hopefully move on to a Division IA school after I am done there. It was a joy to sign."
McKenzie said it feels good to set the example.
"It also feels good to get publicity for Atmore and to lay the line for the other guys coming up behind me," he said. "I also want to thank coach (Mason) Stabler for making a call to the coach and getting me the opportunity to try out. Without him this would not have been possible."
The Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs finished last season 7-2 with a No. 8 ranking in the final National Junior College Athletic Association football poll, according to the school's Web site.
McKenzie is only one of eight out-of-state signees for the school, according to ECHS head coach Kyle Davis. Davis said he understands how good this is for McKenzie and the ECHS program.
"I think it is excellent for him and it is also great for this football program," Davis said. "We have a group of kids here who want to bring this program back to prominence and this is the first step in the right direction. Brandon signing a scholarship with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College puts our program on the map because it is one of the elite community colleges in this area."
ECHS offensive line coach William Casaday helped McKenzie search for colleges and he said he couldn't wait to watch McKenzie play at the college level.
"I knew he was a special player and we tried hard to get him signed somewhere," he said.
McKenzie traveled to Mississippi Gulf Coast earlier this month and raised eyebrows with a 4.43 40-yard dash.
"We tried to tell coaches about his speed, but it took them seeing it to land him a spot on a roster," Casaday said. "I expect great things from him and I expect to watch him on Jefferson Pilot Sports one day as he is playing on an SEC team."
McKenzie's father, Don McKenzie echoed Casaday's sentiments.
"I am happy to see him sign a scholarship and go somewhere where he wants to go," Don McKenzie said. "And I hope to see him sooner or later in the NFL. He has been working so hard and I know he deserves this."