Countdown to Signing Day: RB Shai McKenzie

by JustinC on January 13, 2014 · 0 comments

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mediaday_liamcam_025When Virginia Tech had Darren Evans, Ryan Williams, and David Wilson at running back, the Hokies had arguably the best backfield in the country. Since Wilson left in 2011, the Hokies have not had a running back rush for more than 700 in either of the past two seasons. That dip in the running game has cost Virginia Tech a lot of wins recently.

Shai McKenzie is a good talent, a strong interior runner, and big enough to be an every down type of back. However, he is coming off a knee injury and as we’ve learned in the past, there’s good reason to be cautious. The Hokies took running back George Bell after tearing his ACL, MCL, and PCL in high school. He was never the same back at Virginia Tech.

McKenzie will enroll early and begin classes in January. However, he will likely be held out of spring contact drills to rehab his knee. In all likelihood, he will redshirt this season, giving his knee ample time to heal and giving himself plenty of time to recover mentally from the injury as well. If all goes well, McKenzie will start his career next spring.


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Highlight Film

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You can view McKenzie's highlight film on Hudl by clicking here.

Freshman Impact

Due to his knee injury, I don’t see McKenzie playing much of a role in this Virginia Tech offense in 2014. A redshirt year would be best as that would allow him to fully recover from the injury and then step in next spring and try to battle his way onto the depth chart.

There’s little doubt that the Hokies are trying to stockpile talent at the running back position. Having an elite running back is going to be crucial for the success of this offense going forward. With Trey Edmunds sidelined until the summer, Tech is going to have some tough choices to make this spring. How much can J.C. Coleman help this offense? Is Marshawn Williams the better option as a change of pace back with Edmunds?

McKenzie is going to have a tough path to battle into this starting lineup but if there’s one thing we know from recent history, running backs tend to suffer injuries. If the Hokies can find two or three ACC caliber runners (similar to what we had in the past and what FSU had this season), Tech will be substantially better off in the long run. The Hokies should always have two or three talented running backs waiting in the wings and unfortunately, that hasn’t happened since 2010.

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