Offensive lineman Jack McKenzie became UL's 12th verbal commitment of the 2020 recruiting class when the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder called Cajuns coach Billy Napier to deliver the news Saturday.
Offensive coordinator Rob Sale got his first look at McKenzie, a three-star offensive guard from Parklane Academy in McComb, Mississippi, during the spring evaluation period.
"Coach Sale saw me during the spring and then again at a camp that was held at LSU," McKenzie said. "I picked up offers from UL and Louisiana Tech at that camp, and then I went to Ole Miss camp and got a Louisiana-Monroe offer."
Two years ago, McKenzie received his first offer from Southern Miss. Air Force, Central Arkansas and Yale also recruited him heavily.
"UL's program is picking up and I wanted to be a part of that," said McKenzie, ranked as the No. 41 senior in Mississippi by 247Sports.
"I had been thinking about things while my mother was on a mission trip to Romania. When she returned, I told her Lafayette was the place where I felt most at home."
According to McKenzie, his father took a little more convincing.
"My mom was with it," he said, "but my dad liked Louisiana Tech the most. I've been to Lafayette twice this summer, and it's a more exciting place. There's great food everywhere. I love it."
McKenzie — who bench presses 415 pounds, squats 535 pounds and deadlifts 635 pounds — was impressed by the resiliency shown last year by the Ragin' Cajuns.
"I liked how they started off slowly and then got together and started winning," he said. "That impressed me.
"I like coach Napier a lot. He's my kind of coach. I can tell he's really bringing up the program. For me, it's about being on a growing team. I wanted to be a part of something that's growing and progressing. That's what interests me."
McKenzie lines up at offensive and defensive tackle for Parklane, a Class 4A private school that runs the football out of the power-I formation the vast majority of the time.
"I like run-blocking — getting down and dirty," McKenzie said. "Pancakes — that's what I like to do. We mostly get foot-to-foot on the offensive line and run it behind me off-tackle.
"I play tackle now, but UL is looking at me as a guard. I could play center, too. I have no preference when it comes to position."
With a 32 ACT score and big numbers in the weight room, McKenzie displays impressive all-around work ethic.
"I like to put in work, set goals and achieve them," he said. "I want to make my mark wherever I go."