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Lincoln Kennedy has high praise for USC's Leonard Williams


DALLAS -- Newly minted College Football Hall of Famer Lincoln Kennedy has played with and against his share of greats on the gridiron, and the former Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders offensive tackle was talking quite a bit on Friday about the toughest players he had to block over the years.

After a short embrace in person, he even lamented being on the losing side of a few great battles he had with former Dallas Cowboys All-Pro and recent 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Charles Haley. While the days of the mammoth tackle manning the quarterback's blind side have been over for a while, Kennedy's son, USC offensive lineman Zach Banner, is carrying on the family legacy in the trenches. He has had first-hand experience the past few years trying to block one of the most talented defensive linemen to declare his intention to enter the 2015 NFL Draft in Leonard Williams.

"I think he's going to be a good one. The best thing about taking the next step is first getting acclimated to the speed of the game and then trying to define yourself. More times than not, it's a question of attitude, how bad do you want it? How bad is that desire?" Kennedy said of Williams. "We in the media notice some of those guys are a man amongst boys based on who they're playing against and I think Leonard can be a good one."

Kennedy cautioned, however, that some of the hype surrounding Williams ever since he declared should be tempered because nobody knows how the former Trojans star will react to the speed and players at the next level.

"It's so hard because, having played the game, I try not to talk about guys having an immediate impact to what they do. When you talk about a younger guy coming out of college, they're being put on an upper level. You've got to realize they're going to have a tremendous spotlight on them," remarked Kennedy.

The spotlight will certainly shine on highly touted players like Williams over the coming months, but if there's anything that should bring a smile to Kennedy's face, it should at least be the comfort he can take in knowing his son no longer has to try to block the versatile defensive lineman in practice next season.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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