The Titans recently confirmed the signing of 14 un-drafted free agents, and former Valdosta State offensive linemen Brandon Kemp is among them. A 6-7, 310-pounder, Kemp leaves the Blazers for the Titans after gaining a ton of experience as a four-year starter.
Kemp recently spoke with MCM about how he formed a relationship with the Titans throughout the pre-draft process, how the virtual process is going for him, and which of his teammates he can’t wait to meet in person.
JM: How do you look back on your time at Valdosta State?
BK: I enjoy looking back at what I believe was a phenomenal collegiate career for me. I was surrounded by so many great leaders and coaches. We had a great atmosphere as far as football goes down there in TitleTown, USA. I was lucky enough to be a four-year starter down there. I was able to get my degree. I was a member of the team that won the program its fourth national title. My entire time at Valdosta State was one giant blessing. Its been a phenomenal road so far.
JM: That’s great. There aren’t a ton of guys who play at Valdosta State that go on to get an opportunity in the NFL. Stephen Denmark was recently drafted, but he’s one of few. You must be excited about the opportunity ahead.
BK: Yeah, most definitely. I’m very honored to be a member of what feels like an elite club. Everybody knows how difficult it is to rise above the D-II level. It is what it is. I was appreciative to play at a powerhouse D-II program. We were able to make a name for ourselves. I have the opportunity of a lifetime now. I’m chasing my goals and dreams at the next level. I’m very honored.
Brandon Kemp is a OT prospect in the 2020 draft class out of Valdosta State.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 13, 2020
He posted a great #RAS with good size, poor speed, elite explosiveness, elite agility at the OT position.https://t.co/1w1kTv1clA pic.twitter.com/3KuNkdiIw7
JM: Going from D-II to the NFL is obviously a big leap. At the same time, you played a lot of football at Valdosta State. How do you think your experience can help compensate for the jump in competition?
BK: It’s a big transition. I’m not going to understate that. The next level is very different. I’m thankful to have so many great teammates. I’m going to take what those guys are preaching to me, which is consistency and leadership. I’m a self-motivator. I’m going to take all of those things and run with them. We went through some coaching changes, but I played for some great coaches at Valdosta State. I think I’m prepared for what’s next. I’m headed down the right path.
JM: What was draft weekend like for you?
BK: It was nerve-racking (laughs). I had a lot of anxiety throughout the weekend. Ultimately, it was a phenomenal feeling. It’s hard to describe if you weren’t there. I have an opportunity to achieve something that I’ve been working my entire life towards. Its been very humbling. A lot of guys play football growing up, but so few of them get this opportunity. It’s what dreams are made of. It’s a feeling like no other.
JM: You went un-drafted, but how did this opportunity with the Titans come about?
BK: Being a D-II guy, the best thing you can do is just put your head down and work. I have to give a huge shout out to Titans and general manager Jon Robinson. They’re taking a chance on me. I have reasons to believe that the coaching staff fell in love with me as a guy that can come in and be an asset. The rest is history. They reached out to me a few weeks before the draft. I spoke with several teams before the draft. They rolled the dice on me. I took a leap of faith and choose the Titans. The call was made and we got it done.
Brandon Kemp (6-7, 310) is a native of Atlanta. He started 34 games at LT over three seasons for Valdosta State. #TitansUDFA— Titans247 (@NFL_Titans247) April 27, 2020
JM: You mentioned having some discussions with them prior to the draft. Who were you in contact with specifically, and what were those conversations like?
BK: It’s usually just an area guy. Most of my conversations occurred with one of their area scouts. The process varies. My agency, The Exclusive Group also made contact with the Titans. Everybody on my team did a great job. I stayed out of the way and let them do what they do. I just want to play ball. Hopefully I can get into the building and be the best player that I can be. It’s going to be a good fit for me. Everything will work itself out.
JM: You mentioned speaking with a few other teams throughout this process, and I imagine you had some other offers on the table. Why did you choose Tennessee?
BK: Tennessee choose me (laughs). I’m thankful to be a member of this organization. I didn’t have any tough decisions to make. I feel like they’re going to put me in a position to develop into an asset for them. I’m just running with the opportunity. My agent and I discussed what was on the table. The best option for me was where I could be the best teammate, and we both felt like it was right here in Tennessee. That’s how it went.
JM: What’s your favorite part about playing on the offensive line?
BK: My favorite part about playing on the O-line has to be the accountability. Nothing gets started on the offense without us. I was very fortunate to have so many great teammates at Valdosta State. We really had a great group up front. We had a lot of leadership. I was actually a tight end when I first arrived at Valdosta. I made the transition to the offensive line. That accountability and brotherhood is the best part of it. I feel like the offensive line has one of the tightest position rooms in football. We play in the trenches together and that makes us a tight knit group off the field as well. I enjoy being close to my brothers. Nothing happens on the offense without us. We’re the big brothers of the team. It’s amazing.
JM: You’re going into a great offensive line room that includes guys such as Taylor Lewan, Rodger Saffold and Ben Jones just to name a few. Is there one teammate that you can’t wait to meet or practice against?
BK: I’m excited to meet every single one of my teammates. I can’t wait to be there. If I had to name one, I would probably have to go with Derrick Henry (laughs). He’s one of the best at what he does. I would love to get out there and block for him. I’d love to hit some combo blocks for that guy. I’m excited to get a feel for the leadership that I know he has to offer. Other than that, I’m excited to meet every single Titan. We have an amazing head coach in Mike Vrabel. He’s an excellent leader and a great father. I’m excited to meet everyone. I couldn’t be in a better position right now.
JM: I love that. Who are some of the best edge rushers that you’ve gone up against?
BK: I played against Adonis Davis at Florida Tech. I’m not sure if he’s still there today. He played the four-eye position for them. He was a typical defensive tackle. I thought he was a phenomenal player. He had a great motor. He knows how to finish plays. I have a great deal of respect for him.
JM: COVID-19 has made this process a very unique one for you. You’ve been taking part in the Titans virtual off-season with team meetings occurring via Zoom. How’s that process going for you?
BK: Its been going well. The Titans are following the NFL guidelines. They have some strict laws in place with the CBA. Its been a smooth transition for me. I’m very impressed with the leadership. I can’t stress that enough. We’re ready to get things rocking and rolling.
JM: No doubt. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Brandon. In closing, what are your goals and aspirations like over these next few months?
BK: I have a lot of goals. My goal is to be the best teammate that I can be as a Tennessee Titan. I just want to do my best for this organization. I want to reward them for taking a chance on me. I want to establish a role and become an asset to the team. I’m just ready to play ball. I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity. I just want to find out what my role is and accept it. I’m going to give it my all.