Tennessee is hoping that the best way to nab a top recruit is through his parents.
To help celebrate the 25th anniversary of stud defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie's parents -- his dad is Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, a Tennessee alum -- the Vols' coaching staff sent the player a picture of a heart formed by Tennessee helmets; the "heart" surrounded a Vols jersey bearing the number "25."
McKenzie (6-foot-4, 330 pounds) is a defensive tackle from Concord (Calif.) Clayton Valley Charter who is a five-star prospect in the 2015 recruiting class.
The family ties and the Vols' huge need for defensive linemen are reasons Tennessee seems to be ahead in the race for McKenzie's commitment. He is scheduled to choose a school July 10, and Arizona and Tennessee are the finalists.
Tennessee also has turned to Jon Gruden -- a former Vols graduate assistant whose wife is a Tennessee alum -- to get into the act.
Vols coach Butch Jones also proposed a sort of "scavenger hunt" for McKenzie; the player had to find a bucket hat (think of the hat worn by Gilligan in Gilligan's Island) bearing a Tennessee logo and post a picture of it to Twitter account.
McKenzie already has found the hat.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.