At close to 210 pounds at the end of his sophomore season, college teams looked at Shai McKenzie (Washington, Pa./Washington) as a linebacker, maybe a fullback.
The problem is McKenzie sees himself as a running back, but he knew if he wanted to continue his career at the position he needed to get faster. So this past spring, McKenzie joined the track team, and now he said teams are looking at him as a running back once again.
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound McKenzie said he cut his 40 time into the 4.4s, and this summer he added offers from Pittsburgh, Toledo and Youngstown State.
“I was a linebacker or a power fullback and then got pretty fast and turned into a nice, elusiveness running back,” McKenzie said.
Through four games, McKenzie has 535 rushing yards on 32 carries to go with nine touchdowns. As a sophomore, he topped 1,200 yards and scored 17 times in nine games.
This past summer, McKenzie camped at Penn State, Pittsburgh and Toledo, and the latter two offered following the camp.
McKenzie keeps in contact with Pitt the most.
“Grades, a lot of grades they mention,” McKenzie said. “They talked to me about how Pitt’s a great place, academics are great and are in need of some great running backs for the future.”
The Western Pennsylvania product grew up liking Pitt among other teams, but he wasn’t exactly enthralled with the program earlier this season.
“They struggled a little bit during the beginning of the season. I went to the (Youngstown State) game and I didn’t really like it,” McKenzie said. “But they had a big win against Virginia Tech and the running game looked very good.”
The win against the Hokies made a big impact on McKenzie, especially since the running game powered the Panthers’ attack.
McKenzie does not have any plans to make it back to Pittsburgh, which is about a 30-minute drive north on Interstate 79 from Washington. He said he will keep watching on TV, though. He does not have visits to any other programs set up at the moment either.