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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Kenny Thomason, OL, McKendree University

Kenny Thomason the standout offensive lineman from McKendree University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Justin Berendzen.
Kenny Thomason the standout offensive lineman from McKendree University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Justin Berendzen.
  • Name: Kenny Thomason
  • Position: OL
  • College: McKendree University
  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 310 lbs
  • Twitter: @KennyThomason57
  • Instagram: @kennyt57

What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?

I decided I wanted to play football from a very young age. From my first day of flag football when I was 4 years old I was in love with the game. That love blossomed when I got into high school. From my freshman year on I knew I wanted to play the game as long as I could because this game is one of a kind. I will always be indebted to this amazing game.

How do you prepare for games?

Every game day I get up around 5:45 AM because I can’t sleep in. I call my dad and just talk normally for at least an hour. I then like to take my dog Bear on a walk to clear my head. After that it is time for a shower and to get ready for team breakfast. Every home game I walk my dog over to my dads tailgate with my girlfriend. I talk for a minute or two and then go into breakfast. I like to sit by myself and eat without talking. Then before meetings and chapel, I am the first one to go into the chapel. I turn on my music and watch over our opponents most recent game, especially 3rd down pass rush. After meeting and chapel it’s time to head to the locker room where I get stretched. After that, it’s game time.

What sets you apart from other offensive linemen?

It’s simple. Heart. I will give everything to help the team win. I have started every game the last 3 seasons and have not missed a game. I will play through any injury to help the team win. I am a technical offensive lineman. I just trust my coaching to do the right thing. I also have a knowledge of football that is very rare. I have planned on coaching for years so because of that I have sat in our coaches offices for hours every single week to learn.

If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?

This is definitely a tough one to answer. Guys like Lane Johnson, Tristan Wirfs, and Trent Williams come to mind. But if we are talking all time I would be remiss not to mention Orlando Pace, Anthony Munoz, and Walter Jones. But if I had to choose one, it would be Andrew Whitworth. I would choose him because he is one of the greatest to ever play the position and he played at a very high level for so many years! To sit and pick his brain and to learn from him would be amazing!

What are your favorite moments from your football life?

When I was young we used to tailgate at the University of Illinois football games. Played tackle football in the grass lots there and then going to watch the Fighting Illini play will always be memories I hold onto. From there looking at Mahomet-Seymour High School and all the good times and brotherhoods that will last forever. My first collegiate start was 10 hours away from my hometown and having my dad there to watch was something special. The day my brother Connor committed to McKendree was one of the days that will always stick out. And lastly, last season when we were down big at the half to Quincy. Quincy is the only other D2 in the state of Illinois who offers football. So this is always a big game. Anyways after being down by 24 in the second half, we came back and beat them at their place.

Who is the most underrated player you’ve played with and why?

The most underrated player that I ever played with was Tobias Cook. He was absolutely relentless in his ability to rush the passer.

What should we know about Kenny Thomason the person?

Well there’s a lot to me. I currently work at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation as the Assistant Athletic Director in East St. Louis and I love helping the youth Win in Life. I’m really a nice person who loves my family. My dad and I are close and I could not be in the position I am today without him. I have the best girlfriend in the world and a great 2nd family with her family as well! I love dirt track racing, especially Late Models and Modifieds and I love to go fishing. I try and make my mom, who passed away when I was 11, proud every single day. I am a 5 time Academic All-Conference Honoree. Currently finishing up my Masters in Business Administration. I work hard in every aspect of my life.

What are you looking forward to in your upcoming season?

I look forward to playing this season with a chip on my shoulder. Last year as a team, we did not meet expectations. So this coming season we will be ready. McKendree Football will surprise people in this upcoming season. Other than that I look forward to being the best football player that I can be. This offseason I have worked to be the best version of myself. There will be no excuses for myself and everyone will know who the best offensive tackle is in every game we play in come September 1st.

How do you handle challenges both in life and on the football field?

I handle them head on. There are going to be obstacles or things that come up in life. You got to overcome the challenges both in life and in football. Do not let yourself make excuses but rather push through and persevere. If I were to allow a TFL or a sack, I cannot afford to sit there and feel bad for myself. You have to preserve and win the next rep.

What would a team get in a player like you?

They would everything I have. There is no bigger team person than myself. Even doing this interview is out of my comfort zone. On top of that they would get someone who is relentless in the pursuit of winning. Someone who will work to get better everyday. A leader who makes others around them better.

What is a moment that improved you as a football player?

My first season at McKendree I was redshirting so I was on the scout team. I was facing the first team defense every play. So facing guys like Tobias Cook, Darrion Simmons, Austin Weltha, Ricco Gipson, and Marquis Cherry made me better everyday.

What type of energy do you bring onto the football field?

A constant spark. Someone who will be up on my feet screaming to get the other players and fans into the game when the defense is trying to make a stop. Someone who will be ready to lead a group into battle. And overall someone who will punch through a brick wall from start to finish.


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