Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007.
Honesty is key for highly touted McKenzie
Honesty is the focus of highly recruited running back Shai McKenzie as he goes through the recruiting process and tries to make his college decision.
McKenzie, 6-0, 212, 4.42 seconds in the 40 yard dash, of Washington, Pennsylvania already reports having 22 scholarship offers but the number will likely grow. Arkansas, Michigan, Tennessee, Penn State and Pittsburgh are some of his offers.
"It's basically going to be what team has been the most honest with me and who actually wants me," McKenzie said. "I know a lot of teams, a lot of coaches are going to tell me this and that. It's all about
honesty. I know in the long run I'm going to find out what coaches are really honest with me and what coach really wants me Right now, it's just up for grabs right now. A lot of coaches tell me what I want to hear but I know I'll make the right decision. "
McKenzie rushed for 2,689 yards and 42 touchdowns as a junior by using his 10.83 time in the 100 meters. As a sophomore, he also clocked a 22.4 in the 200 and displayed nice strength in throwing the shot put 47 feet.
The SEC and Arkansas is intriguing.
"I know coming from PA, it's good football and a good football state but down south in the SEC that's good football," said McKenzie, who can do six reps of 275 pounds on the bench press. "Arkansas, I know they're not the best team but every team is trying to work their way up. I'm going to look at Arkansas a lot more."
Razorback running backs coach Joel Thomas, who's the career rushing leader at Idaho with 3,929 yards and who also coached four 1,000 yard rushers in four season at Washington, has been in communication with McKenzie.
"He told me they need some good talented running backs," said McKenzie, who has a 3.6 grade point average and is looking at sports medicine s a possible major. "As for myself, they see I could be a great running back in the system and he believes I have the potential to get there right away and help the team."
While at Wisconsin, Coach Bret Bielema and the Badgers featured numerous one thousand yard rushers, including Montee Ball, who earned the Doak Walker award.
"That's real good," McKenzie said. "Because I know when I'm picking a school and decide where I want to go I want to go to a good program and wants to run the ball."
McKenzie said he's wide open and isn't favoring any school or schools.
"I haven't really decided where I want to go," McKenzie said. "I've gone to a couple of junior days. I've been to Ohio State and Pitt. I know with all these offers, it's hard. I just can't go every spring ball and try and make to everybody's camp so in a couple of weeks I think I'm going to try and narrow something down and think about what I want to do in the future and continue my career."
An early decision won't likely happen with McKenzie.
"I just don't want to try and make a commitment and lose interest from other schools and then get injured," McKenzie said. "Something could go bad I just feel like I want to keep all the interest about the same and don't promise anything to anyone and hopefully i can make my decision at an All American Bowl."