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August 27, 2006Bradenton Prep wide receiver Jermaine McKenzie was one of the Tide's first verbal pledges back in May when he committed to Alabama assistant Dave Ungerer. Up until that point McKenzie, 6-foot-1, 170-pounds, was considered a sleeper prospect and the Florida native has waited all summer for his senior year.
"Everything is going great. We played our first game this past Friday and I'm excited that the season is finally going. I've been waiting a long time it seems like to start my senior year and that was the first time I got a lot of minutes," McKenzie said. "I worked hard this summer to be ready for the season and now that it's here I'm excited. We lost the game because we lost our focus when my brother separated his shoulder. That shook us up but we are going to be ready the rest of the year.
"I'm playing wide receiver on offense, defensive back on defense and I'm the kickoff and punt returner. So I'm getting a lot of time to play. Friday it was a little hard because it was so hot and the first game so I cramped a little bit. But I loved every minute of it. I'm just happy to be out there."
As might be expected McKenzie, who is a four-star prospect and a member of the Rivals250, is still being recruited by several colleges who hope to change his mind but so far he's remained firm.
"I'm still hearing from a bunch of schools who want me to visit. Florida has really been in my ear a lot. It's the same schools who want to know if I'll change my mind. I've told all of them that I'm firm with Alabama but they want me to visit," McKenzie said. "I go back and forth between whether to take visits or not. I want to get out and enjoy some games but I'm 100% firm to Alabama so I'm not sure if I will or not. I'll just have to wait and see what happens but it could be difficult with me having games on Friday night.
"I haven't talked to Coach "U" (Ungerer) about it yet but if he doesn't want me to I probably won't. He's been good to me so far and we talk all the time. He was the main reason I committed to Alabama."
McKenzie isn't the only commitment in the Tampa area and he's become good friends with fellow Tide pledges Sherod Murdock and Robert Marve.
"I talk to Sherod and Robert all the time. We're always talking to each other about remaining positive and playing our best. They are good friends of mine and we help motivate one another and we just talk about what is going on with everyday stuff," McKenzie said. "I know they are as pumped as I am about 'Bama. We talk about going to Tuscaloosa and representing the state of Florida like nobody else had done before. We are going to be a tight knit group when we get there."
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