Butler graduate transfer Tommy Kennedy is set to visit the Miami Hurricanes December 14-15, 2018. The left tackle prospect is also visiting Texas and Oklahoma before his trip to Coral Gables, FL. Kennedy wasn’t a highly sought after prospect out of Chicago, IL and signed with FCS non-scholarship Butler of the Pioneer League.
After redshirting in 2015, Kennedy played in two games in 2016. Heading into the 2017 season Kennedy was named the starter and hasn’t looked back. He has made 22 consecutive starts including an All-Pioneer League season in 2018. With visits coming to Texas and Oklahoma one can assume he has the talent to play Power 5 football.
From my personal experience as a high school coach for sixteen years, many offensive line prospects that are 6’5 take time to develop. With Kennedy arriving to Butler at 285 pounds and leaving at 290 you can imagine he was carrying the max weight for his from in high school. Many of my best offensive linemen in high school, when it comes to skill, are Division III type players. They are 6’0 and 230 pounds and can move their feet. The 6’5 kids are typically clumsy and/or carry bad weight.
Why is Miami looking at Kennedy? Keep in mind he’s also being looked at by Arizona State, Arizona, and Boston College as well as the previously mentioned top of the Big 12.
Blessed to be able to visit such prestigious universities pic.twitter.com/IZcvMHq8rd— Tommy Kennedy (@TommyKennedy74) December 6, 2018
3 questions to ask
There are three questions the coaching staff has to ask before taking a grad transfer offensive lineman who has only one year of eligibility left:
1) Will he start?? If Kennedy isn’t starter ready right now it’s not even worth it. You have to evaluate the current roster and say that this play is drastically better than Hillery, Herbert, Brown, and anyone else the staff may throw out at left tackle. If Kennedy is at least on-par with those potential starters then he is worth signing.
Kennedy has to prove to you that he knows the playbook, or at least can grasp it quickly, and from there can he execute what you need him to? Was the Butler playbook similar to what you plan to do at Miami in 2019?
The next two are sub-questions to the first, but it’s important to break these down into parts.
2) Does he have P5 power? If he isn’t physically ready in the ankles, hips, and shoulders he can’t be signed. You need a kid that physically is developed and has the power in his power angles to drive out ACC caliber defensive ends. I wouldn’t mind giving the kid a workout before bringing him in for a graduate transfer to see if he’s as powerful as you need.
3) Can he move? I think a question that has to be asked is can Kennedy move in space? If Miami is going to attempt more screens, as evident by the late season play calling, then he’s the guy you want. In the first clip on his tape he moves really well and just needs to improve his balance in space.
Evaluating his tape
With regards to movement, play one on Kennedy’s tape shows his ability to get to the flats on screen passes. If he can work on coming to balance and getting his feet set he won’t wind up diving at knees out in space. In the GIF below you can see that he can move and understands his role in the swing screen game.
A couple of clips later, Kennedy takes a second to find his man in the wash but once his hands are on the linebacker it’s over. Kennedy uses good leverage, leg drive, and arm extension to finish his block. One thing Miami’s offensive line has been lacking is a nasty football player (Corey Gaynor, we thought it was you, bud) and this guy finishes his blocks nasty.
Below is another pancake block from around 55 seconds. Kennedy gets his hands on his defensive end, turns him out, and finishes the block with the defensive end on his back. This comes from understanding hip width and leg drive, and by having fluid hips that can get under an opponent.
The image below is from 3:15 on the tape. Kennedy doesn’t use the best form in pass protection. On a few clips throughout the tape after a nice kick slide he cuts his man. I’m not sure entirely why but that concept isn’t going to work in the ACC. Below, he stands far too tall and needs more knee bend, to get his head back and his arms extended. Also his hand work should look more like a double upper cut than just using your long arms. But it is nice to see he has length and quickness in space.
Say what you want about FCS non-scholarship, Butler, the Pioneer League, etc but Kennedy is seeing a lot of scheme thrown his way. I love how he and his guard work together to pass off the stunt in the GIF below. They’re so fluid it’s seamless as if it’s almost a practice rep.
I obviously haven’t seen the kid play in person. I haven’t met him so I haven’t gotten to see if he’s truly 6’5 290 or if they’ve pumped him up the traditional 2” and 20 pounds. He looks fairly lean but with a good lower body build, has long arms, and uses his feet well. I like that he’s worked out in space, he can vertical set, pass off stunts, but also he can get in the run game and maul someone.
I trust the offensive line evaluations of Boston College, Oklahoma, and Texas that if they’re interested he must be good.