The scouting report on Shai McKenzie is difficult because of his level of competition. From looking at his highlight tape, he appears to be playing against a bunch of smaller players who make up for their lack of size by being slow. Nevertheless, his numbers and his offer list are hard to argue with.
Junior: 2,689 yards
Senior: 650 yards on just 36 carries before tearing his ACL on September 13
Offers: FSU, Pitt, GT, Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Penn State, South Carolina, Wisconsin and others
You don’t find many backs as productive as McKenzie was in high school, and you don’t find many with as impressive an offer list.
That’s a very impressive highlight tape, with long touchdown run after long touchdown run. Here’s what I think McKenzie does well.
Speed: I don’t think McKenzie has great speed, but for his size I think it’s good. And as you know by now, I like big backs who weigh 200+ who can move well for their size.
Change of direction: McKenzie has quick feet and changes direction well.
Vision: McKenzie seems to have a knack for setting up his blocks.
Size: At 5-11, 215, McKenzie is already big enough to play ACC football.
Cutbacks: McKenzie moves deceptively well in the open field, and many of his touchdown runs come from cutting it back against the grain.
Good I-Formation runner: McKenzie looks very natural and very comfortable running behind a fullback out of the I-Formation.
Those are a lot of good strengths to fall back on. However, question marks about McKenzie remain, such as…
1: How physical is he? Defenders rarely get a hand on him. When they do, the are usually much smaller players. What will he do against of his own talent level? Marshawn Williams plays against very good 757 competition, while McKenzie’s competition level appears to be much lower.
2: How is his knee? If it’s just a regular torn ACL, McKenzie will be fine. If there is anything more to it then that (and if there is, we usually don’t hear about it until later), then there could be concerns. As far as I know, his rehab is going fine and is probably ahead of schedule. That’s a good thing, but we still have to list his knee...
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