The Cougars have stolen away a relatively highly rated defensive line prospect. Rashad McKenzie Jr. announced his signing with WSU on Sunday, instantly becoming the second-highest rated defender in this class for WSU, according to 247Sports. The edge rusher is rated as a three-star prospect and the No. 798 player overall in the nation. He played his high school ball at Bishop Alemany in Mission Hills, CA.
McKenzie had put together quite the collection of offers. They included cross-state rival Washington, Pac-12 foes Arizona State, Oregon, and USC, as well as Boise State, Nebraska, Texas, and San Jose State. The Washington State visit on Friday was his first visit to any school. Defensive tackles coach Pete Kaligis and defensive ends coach AJ Cooper are credited with closing the deal to get McKenzie.
McKenzie stands at 6-4 and weighs in at 250 pounds. He is not the biggest guy on the field by any means. However, his style of play works with his size. He played a bit of tight end in high school and showed a definite ability to block.
On The Field
On defense, McKenzie used his speed to be able to get to plays on the other side of the backfield. With plays going up the middle or to his side, he uses a move where he bull rushes the tackle and then pulls back. This causes the offensive player the continue his momentum back while McKenzie redirects himself.
He is a very solid run-defending edge. On the other side, I have not seen a ton to write home about in pass-rush situations. McKenzie does not seem to get into the backfield quick enough to cause commotion on passing plays, relying on that bull rush move on running plays.
McKenzie also has a quirk in his tackling game. On most of his tackles, he seems to sling the offensive player or just get his arms on them. There are a lot of wrap-up tackles too, but the number of arm tackles is a little concerning.
We will be somewhat surprised if Rashad McKenzie becomes the backup tight end to Andre Dollar at WSU. It could be a good move, however. If he stays on defense, he has the potential to be special. However, there is certainly work to do in the present moment.