Leesa James-Exum, Kinlaw's mother, immigrated to Washington D.C. from Trinidad and Tobago in 1995.
Played with older brother, Caleb, at South Carolina from 2017-2019.
After not participating in Pop Warner as a kid, Kinlaw's football career began as a sophomore at Goose Creek (Charleston, SC) HS.
Kinlaw, known for his work ethic on and off the field, found an extra source of motivation in his daughter, Eden Amara, born in April of 2019. Heading into his final season with South Carolina, Kinlaw reached new heights on the defensive line and earned national accolades. "When she was born, not that he didn't work hard before, but I saw a guy that was on a mission," South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said. "[He] understood that there was a lot more out there for him right now in taking care of his daughter and taking care of his family." In addition to his growth on the field, Kinlaw saw the change in his mentality, too. "It's been a long journey, and I still have a long way to go. I feel like I needed it at that point and time in my life," he said. "It's helped me mature a little bit more, on and off the field. My biggest responsibility is being a good father."
Kinlaw and his family faced financial uncertainty throughout his childhood, as they often moved from place to place in order to make ends meet. "You definitely can't give up on yourself," Kinlaw said. "I didn't really expect myself to be here. I didn't expect myself to be a collegiate athlete, but I stuck with it." Despite living in difficult circumstances at times, Kinlaw credits his childhood for his maturity. "It made me a man at a young age, [I] grew up early definitely," said Kinlaw. "It's been a long journey, just coming from the bottom and slowly working my way up. I'm really proud of myself and all that I've accomplished."
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