OXFORD, Ala. — Three months ago, Kenney Britt was an unknown recruit from a rural town in Alabama.
Now he’s the most coveted middle linebacker in the SEC, and may be one of the nation’s best prospects at his position despite his current recruiting ranking.
Since Feb. 18, Britt has landed 20 scholarship offers, and half of them have come from SEC schools. Some of the most high-profile coaches in the country call his cell phone regularly.
He was invited Tuesday to “The Opening,” an annual combine for top recruits at Nike world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
— The Opening (@TheOpening) May 24, 2016
Britt is still trying to wrap his head around how his recruitment took off.
“I used to pray every night asking for offers to come my way,” Britt said. “Then one week in February I started getting like three offers a day. It just happened out of nowhere.”
Britt was taken aback by how quickly his offers increased, but it didn’t surprise him that they did. The 6-foot, 230-pounder was confident coaches would come calling once his junior highlights got out.
“I figured it was just going to be a matter of time after the signing class that my film would spread,” Britt said. “I knew I’d hear from big schools because I felt like I can play with the best of the them. I just was being patient and praying.
“All these coaches found me. I didn’t find them or call them up. I didn’t force anything. It just happened. These last few months have been different, but you get used to it and find yourself.”
While Britt had to adjust to life as a coveted prospect, he was back in his comfort zone this month with a few weeks of spring football. Dozens of coaches came by to watch him practice with his team.
“They tell me I’m a true middle linebacker,” Britt said of their evaluations. “I’m just hard-nosed and I like to hit. When I’m on the field, somebody about to get this work. Too many people take the fun out of the game and don’t enjoy it. I fell in love with football when I was 4 and I’ve never played any other sports.”
Britt currently holds offers from 31 schools, with Stanford being the latest. Only two middle linebackers in this cycle have more offers than him, and his three-star rating no longer seems reflective of his talent.
Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Michigan are among the big-name programs on Britt’s list, and Florida coach Jim McElwain is personally recruiting him on a daily basis.
Despite being courted by college football’s elite, Britt still leads a simple lifestyle and hasn’t let his recruitment change him. He’s already grown weary of the process and wants to make a decision in August.
“I’m excited about everything, but I stay grounded and humbled,” said Britt, who boasts a 3.6 GPA and plans to enroll early. “These offers didn’t take control of my life. There’s nothing better to me than going rabbit hunting or taking my little brother fishing. I’m in church every week. And honestly, I still have a point a prove.
“I haven’t made a name for myself yet or did anything that makes me special. Until then, I’m going to stay hungry. Some recruiting analysts still don’t think I’m good because I’m not 6-foot-3 or running a fast 40. But once I put my shoulder pads on, I’m trying to kill you.”
Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow @ZachAbolverdi