Washington High School running back Shai McKenzie has trimmed his list of potential college suitors to five.
Though he insists the decision is nowhere near final, the schools that made the cut include, in descending order of preference: Florida State, Pitt, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Arkansas.
“I sat down for three hours (Thursday),” said McKenzie, who has 30 NCAA Division I scholarship offers. “Did all my research and had to think about it.”
What did he think about?
“Who was honest,” McKenzie answered. “Relationships. What did I like about a lot of these schools. Which coaches kept in contact with me and showed their interest. If I was a priority or not.
“This gives people, myself and my family a better understanding of where I fit into this recruiting.”
McKenzie said those five schools all made him feel wanted, Florida State especially. Another reason McKenzie is so high on the Seminoles is running backs coach Jay Graham, who used to be at Tennessee. One of his first offers was from Tennessee.
A third has to do with the dorms, which he toured this past weekend, as well as the enclosed campus.
“Everything is within walking distance,” McKenzie said. “You don’t need a car.”
Pitt makes sense given Rushel Shell’s transfer and the fact that Wash High’s coach, Mike Bosnic, played there.
Georgia Tech is close to family for McKenzie, whose mother, Misty Nolder, lives in Marietta, Ga. He also called it a “package deal.”
“They have the education with good football,” McKenzie said. “They’re usually at the top of the ACC every year with football. It’s a good thing for me and my family. Education is very important because if I don’t make it pro, I still have Georgia Tech on a diploma, which is really good.”
Georgia dropped off McKenzie’s list once Nick Chubb, a four-star recruit, committed there.
“They lost full interest in me,” McKenzie said. “Didn’t speak to me. Didn’t reply back to calls. I visited down south, and my father and coach had called them. They didn’t reply back with any phone calls.”
A similar story happened with five-star recruit Jalen Hurd and Tennessee.
McKenzie is a four-star recruit, according to Rivals.com, after amassing 2,700 yards and 42 touchdowns.
He will attend “The Opening,” an elite football camp in Oregon from June 29-July 3. He hopes to rest a bit, though he didn’t rule out making an official visit or two.