McKenzie began his career at Michigan St and he spent his first season as a reserve and finished with just three tackles. He decided to transfer to Iowa St and sat out the 2005 season. He had a huge impact for the Cyclones as soon as he was eligible, earning All Big 12 honors after finishing the year with 129 tackles, 9.5 for loss, two sacks and a pick. McKenzie again decided to transfer, this time closer to home and the University of South Florida. He was granted a hardship waiver to be near his ill mother and he did not have to sit out a season before playing for the Bulls. During the 2007 season, he was again an all conference performer, this time in the Big East. McKenzie had 121 tackles, 7.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks as a Bull last year.
McKenzie is as active and aggressive as any linebacker in this draft. He has an innate ability to locate the football and bring down the ball carrier. Having an immediate impact for schools in two difference conferences says a lot about his natural football instincts. He is athletic, has good speed, and uses those gifts to make plays up and down the line of scrimmage. McKenzie moves well laterally and shoots up the field once his sights are set on the ball carrier. He also brings some versatility to a defense, having the skills to possibly play weakside or inside linebacker at the NFL level.
McKenzie lacks the bulk and strength at the point of attack to take on blockers and make plays. That definitely raises questions about his ability to be a true middle linebacker but is something he needs to work on no matter where he plays.
McKenzie has bounced around quite a bit during his college career. Not many players can say they saw the field at three division one schools, in three different conferences. That hasn’t stopped him from being one of the most productive linebackers in the college game, and it makes you wonder how good he’d be if he spent all that time in one school, in one scheme. McKenzie should be a tackling machine in the NFL and could hear his name called in the second or third round.