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Monday, March 25, 2013
Shai McKenzie cuts list of 31 in half

By Jared Shanker

When offer No. 31 came in for Washington (Pa.) running back Shai McKenzie last week, he figured it was time to start cutting his list. It sounds simple, but McKenzie had a harder time when it came to putting pen to paper.

“He struggled to make a list,” Washington coach Mike Bosnic said. “He’s really unsure.”

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound McKenzie eventually settled on 15 programs, essentially cutting his list in half. Arkansas, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin make up McKenzie’s top group.

McKenzie said the teams that did not make his cut are no longer in consideration.

“There are some schools he didn’t want to waste their time and it’s time consuming for him,” Bosnic said. “It got to the point where we decided to let the schools he’s not interested in know and move on and not waste their time or ours.”

Bosnic joined McKenzie on a visit to West Virginia on Mar. 17 for the Mountaineers’ spring practice. Several of the program’s top targets were on campus that afternoon, and McKenzie enjoyed himself.

As a bigger running back, it did not completely alleviate some concerns McKenzie has about the West Virginia offense. However, the Mountaineers staff is pitching the opportunity to play in a high-scoring offense and one that would be adjusted for him if he signs with the nearby program.

“It seems to be tailored to smaller, quicker backs,” Bosnic said. “They expressed to him they’re an offense where they try to score a lot of points, and he likes that about it. They also told him he’d be a major part of the offense. He’s happy with the visit.”

In late spring or early summer, McKenzie is planning to visit Florida State, Georgia and Georgia Tech on a Southeastern trip.

Florida State is recruiting the Pittsburgh area hard and landed a commitment from Pittsburgh Central Catholic quarterback J.J. Cosentino last week. Even before McKenzie’s recruitment picked up, he was hoping to land an offer from Florida State as it has always been a team he’s been high on.

“He likes a lot of things about Florida State: great school, beautiful area, a warm weather climate, a powerhouse program,” Bosnic said.

Along with the Seminoles, Georgia is another team that is toward the top of that group of 15 schools. The Bulldogs have been known for having a strong stable of running backs under coach Mark Richt.

“I know Georgia’s really high on his list,” Bosnic said. “He thinks a lot of the Georgia program and the type of athletes they have year in and year out. That’s something that caught his interest. He wants to be the best and that’s something he’s talked about.”