Kenzy Paul moved from Montreal to Chattanooga (Tenn.) last fall in hopes of improving his football and academic stock. The rising senior has since earned 17 Division 1 offers during his time at McCallie. While starring on the field on Friday night, Paul also learned English as a second language. He recently discussed the move, his recruitment, and more with VR2 on SI.
"Honestly, everything is going fine," the two-way athlete said. "I have received a couple of offers over the last couple of weeks. I have been talking to a lot of coaches. I have a lot of homework and exams, and when that is all cleared, I will definitely make more time."
Teams reaching out to Paul on a consistent basis include Missouri, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Duke, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Michigan State.
Vanderbilt: They seem to really be investing in me. I can see what they are trying to do. They are trying to build a new team. They have a new staff and finding new players. I see they have a really good plan. It is also a really good school for academics, so that is a plus.
Missouri: I really have a good relationship with Coach (Charlie) Harbison. I think they have a really big background, especially coach Steve Wilkes, and they are in the SEC, so that is really good also. They play in the biggest Power Five, so that could definitely help me to play against the best competition. I really have a good relationship with them and I really like the school. I have seen the facilities on a zoom, and I liked it.
Duke: They have a good program for academics. Their coaches are really nice, and I have a great relationship with them. We talk together almost every weekend, and I feel like they are committed to me, like they really want me. I like that about them. It is a great school, and I like how it is looking. I have been on a virtual tour, and they showed me the facilities, the cafeteria and all those things. I am really interested in them as well.
Michigan State: Honestly, I think they have a defense I would fit in also. I really have a great relationship with the coaches also. I talked with them during the season, and it was really great to talk to everyone on the defensive staff. It is really nice to talk to them because it feels like it is genuinely a good conversation all the time. They didn't really have a good season this year, but they have a good coaching staff, and I know they are going to step up this year.
Tennessee: At first, the old staff, when they offered me, they didn't really talk to me. After he became the head coach, Coach Heupel started hitting me up about three days later, talking to me, and getting to know me. It was just building a relationship. Other coaches from the new coaching staff started to talk to me, so I felt like they were into me more than the old staff for sure. I got on the virtual tour, and they introduced themselves there as well. I am really interested in the program.
"I definitely felt important to them. That felt good," he added about being on Tennessee's "Heup House" zoom call. "I am in Tennessee right now, and I really like it. If I can ever get on a visit and know they are interested in me, it is good news you know."
Paul plays wide receiver and cornerback at McCallie, and he has the option to play either at the next level.
"Some are recruiting me as a combination. Most are recruiting me on the defensive side," he said. "Honestly, I like having the ball. I have played receiver my entire life, and this was my first season playing corner, but I really liked it. I don't really care where I play. I just want to help the team at the next level."
"For top schools, I will probably do a top eight in the next few weeks," he said of his timeline. "With a commitment, I will definitely wait for the summer. I want to focus on my school right now since it is my first year learning everything in English. My first language is French, so I want to make sure I get good grades, ACTs and everything."
What is the touted athlete looking for in his future home?
"I need a good relationship with the team and coaches. I really want to be in a good academics school," he told VR2 on SI. "You never know what can happen with football, and I want something to be able to fall back on. Being in a good school and graduating with a good diploma is something I am looking for. I want to be around a coaching staff that will make me the best student possible and allow me to compete with the best."
Paul is accustomed to making difficult decisions about his future. He made the choice to leave his family and come to McCallie, a move that ultimately paid off, but it was not easy for his family.
"It was harder for my family for me to be away, but they knew it was the best decision for me to come here for football and school. At some point, they were sad, but they knew it was the best for me and the best for them," he said on the decision.
The toughest part for him? "Being away from my family, being in a country where the language was totally different, just being away from everything you are used to," Paul said. "When you leave, you have to adapt to everything. At my school, people are around you, but you are still alone in a way. You are not used to seeing the people you normally see. You really have to adapt to that. I did, and I am glad I did. I have two friends from Canada that came with me, so that helped."
In the next few months, Paul will likely settle on a school to call home. He was asked what one of these schools is getting in him as a player on and off the field.
"I think they are getting a good young man. A mature guy, who will work for what he wants. Hard work, commitment, appreciation, and wanting to learn all the time."