One of the greatest offensive linemen in North Texas history spent the early part of his career going head to head with Brandon Kennedy every afternoon in practice.
Those were some of the toughest days Andy Brewster experienced and helped shape his standout career. They also illustrate just what a great player Kennedy was at UNT.
“I wasn’t able to win any battles with him for two and a half years,” said Brewster, who went on to become an All-Sun Belt Conference center. “When I started winning some of them, everyone else on Saturday was not nearly as good. The challenge was bigger in practice.”
Kennedy, a standout defensive tackle better known as “Booger,” was one of five UNT greats who were included in the school’s 2012 Hall of Fame class that was inducted Saturday afternoon at Apogee Stadium.
Jamario Thomas, who won the national rushing title in 2004; Walter Chapman, a standout defensive lineman who played in the 1970s; C. Dan Smith, a football letterman in the late 1950s and early 1960s who went on to become a vital booster for the program, joined Ron Linscomb, track standout from the 1960s, in the class.
Kennedy was the Sun Belt Player of the Year in the 2002 and 2003 seasons and was a four-time All-Sun Belt selection. His best season came in 2002 when he ranked third nationally with 24 tackles for loss.
“It’s not what I played for,” Kennedy said of earning a spot in the Hall of Fame. “But I had a great career here. It’s always good to see the old faces and talk about the old times.”
Kennedy was one of UNT’s key players during one of the best eras in program history.
The Mean Green won the Sun Belt title and played in the New Orleans Bowl in four straight seasons beginning in 2001. UNT beat Cincinnati in the 2002 New Orleans Bowl.
“Brandon was our impact player,” said Adrian Awasom, an All-Sun Belt defensive end from the same era. “He made a lot of plays and deserves to get in. We are all happy for him. He had great leverage and a lot of God-given ability.”
Kennedy was a standout high school player at Terrell who developed into a high-profile player at UNT, not only because of his performance but also because he was unconventional in terms of his size at 5-foot-10 and 315 pounds.
The fact he played for a team that won 25 straight conference games, beginning in 2001, behind a standout defense added to the attention Kennedy received. UNT ranked third nationally in points allowed at 14.8 per game in the 2002 season.
“Brandon was a big part of our defense being as strong as it was,” said Johnny Quinn, a wide receiver on UNT’s Sun Belt championship teams and a fellow UNT Hall of Fame member. “And anytime you have a strong defense, it helps your offense.”
Kennedy recognized several people who influenced him during his career during his acceptance speech, including his former teammates and coaches at UNT, his high school coaches and his family.
Kennedy also reflected on playing for UNT’s bowl era teams.
“We accomplished a lot,” Kennedy said. “It was a great era. We are all proud of what we did. I was part of one of the best eras in North Texas history.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870.