It only took a few attempts before Isaiah McKenzie caught a punt while holding two other footballs.
A JUGS machine skied a ball high into the air with McKenzie running underneath it. McKenzie then threw one of the footballs he was holding in the air before catching the punt with one hand. As the football he tossed started to fall down, McKenzie corralled that one on top of the other two.
This certainly drew a smile out of Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, who was on hand to see McKenzie and other former Georgia players work out at the university’s pro day.
McKenzie is Georgia’s lone underclassman to declare for the NFL draft and will hope to hear his name called when the time comes. As of now, he’s not sure where he will go. He’s just looking for the opportunity to contribute at the next level.
“I just want in,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie previously said the time was right for him to head to the NFL. After his pro day workout, McKenzie shined some further light on his situation. McKenzie said he was dealing with an academic issue that required an appeal. As a result, he would have been ineligible for spring practice.
While McKenzie said he would have likely still been eligible to compete for Georgia’s football team in the fall, he didn’t want to go without football for the spring.
“Going through the process in school, I would have had to appeal a situation that happened,” McKenzie said. “It would have taken me out for the spring. I just said I’m not going to sit out and miss the spring.”
McKenzie declined to reveal what the issue at hand was other than saying it was academic related.
NFL teams he has spoken with have asked about the situation. McKenzie said he’s been forthright with each franchise.
“That’s what they told me coming out, that honesty is the best policy,” McKenzie said. “I told them everything they needed to know about me.”
McKenzie was Georgia’s lone invite to the NFL combine, to which he posted impressive numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.42 seconds), three-cone drill (6.62 seconds), vertical jump (36 inches) and broad jump (123 inches). He also bench pressed 225 pounds 11 times.
McKenzie participated in individual drills but let his combine numbers stand at Georgia’s pro day. McKenzie said he has upcoming visits with the Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. With Armstrong on hand Wednesday, he said the Falcons are a team that has displayed some interest.
A major draw to McKenzie is his ability to return kicks and punts. At Georgia, McKenzie set program records for total return touchdowns (six) and punt return touchdowns (five). In addition to his skill set as a returner, McKenzie said NFL teams have lauded his ability as a slot receiver.
“I try to play big in every position I’m in – receiver, punt returner, kick returner, it doesn’t matter,” McKenzie said. “I want to expand my role at receiver and on special teams at the same time."
CBSSports.com ranks McKenzie has the 43rd best receiver in this year’s class with an undrafted grade attached. McKenzie, who has been training in Miami, said he remains hopeful of hearing his name called during draft weekend.
“Getting drafted is just icing on the cake,” McKenzie said. “If I don’t get drafted then I’ll have to work my way up and do the best I can. Getting drafted, I’ll really enjoy that. I hope so.”