Adam Lechtenberg Plays Big Role In Kenji Christian’s Decision


Kenji Christian
Running Back, Class of 2021
Pinson Valley High School, Pinson, AL
6-2, 200

The decision wasn’t easy for Pinson Valley (Ala.) three-star running back Kenji Christian, who several weeks ago decided his commitment would come down to one of two schools: Virginia Tech and Ole Miss.

On Monday, Christian announced via a social media video that he’d decided on the Hokies. He said that decision is a solid one, and now he’s set on getting himself in the best possible shape for Virginia Tech. But in getting to this point, it certainly was not a simple choice.

“I mean, it was tough,” Christian said. “I switched, I switched twice. One minute, I was Virginia Tech, then I went to Ole Miss, then I went back to Virginia Tech. My mom and my coaches just helped me make the decision that I made.

“I asked both the coaches and all that, I asked them about the school, the program, I asked where would I play. Because, I don’t really want to move positions. I want to play strictly running back. I don’t want to play wide receiver or anything, because I can catch balls in the backfield, like running routes and stuff. And I mean, Virginia Tech told me I could play as a freshman, I could start and all that. And then, (Coach Adam Lechtenberg) was like, I could just be a tailback for them. He’s got multiple guys that he could just put in at wide receiver. He was like, I’d be pushing for the starting position at tailback.”

Christian, Rivals.com’s No. 43 running back and No. 26 player in Alabama for 2021, cited Lechtenberg as a key factor in his decision. The two have steadily communicated for months, even before the Hokies’ gave Christian a scholarship offer in February.

“Our relationship got better,” he said. “When it started, I already knew our relationship was going to be good, he’d call me every day, wishing me luck in everything I did and all that. He called me before I went to practice, texted me.”

Lechtenberg is also the primary coach who showed Christian around campus on a virtual visit this summer. Christian said he’s still yet to see Blacksburg in-person.

“I mean, it was good,” he said. “(Lechtenberg) showed me the campus and stuff, showed me some of the things they do. He showed me the new dorms they’re putting up, the new meeting rooms and all that.

“I never saw Virginia Tech. That was my first time. It was better than I thought it was.”

Now, Christian said he has to decide when he’ll be getting to Virginia Tech. He hasn’t ruled out the possibility of graduating high school early, but said he has to speak with a guidance counselor to determine the best option.

Christian will have the fortune of playing this fall. Pinson Valley opened its season Friday with a 44-19 loss to Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.), in which Christian rushed for 100 yards on 12 carries.

“It means a lot for me, because without some of my teammates, I wouldn’t be playing,” he said. “I was going to sit the year out, work out and get ready for college. But some guys on my team, I’ve been playing [with] since four or five years old. I want to keep playing with them. It don’t matter, win or lose, I’ll still roll with them. They’re still my brothers. I just want to win state.”

Regardless of when, Christian said he now knows where he’s headed for college. He hopes the current season will have his mindset where he wants it in preparation for Blacksburg, and he hopes the time will have him physically ready as well.

“I mean, to myself, I feel like I’m already ready,” Christian said. “I just need to gain pounds and work on my attitude a little bit.”

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