Four-star running back Shai McKenzie hasn't been jet-lagged at all with his recent travels. He was at The Opening in Oregon just a couple weeks ago. This past weekend, he visited Virginia Tech, and plans to visit Arkansas later to month.
After that Arkansas trip, he will have visited all of his top five schools--Pittsburgh, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Arkansas. He was still talking about the good experience he at at The Opening earlier this month.
"Being at The Opening, it was a real good experience," McKenzie said. "Even though it was pretty hot, I still had a great time. It was a real nice experience to be around NFL players. It was a good experience."
On a side note, he found hanging out with a Heisman Trophy winner and a first-round draft pick was just a typical daily experience.
"I got to sit down and play games with Johnny Manziel and Tavon Austin," McKenzie said. "They were kicking our butts in the games. It was a real good experience, and I had a fun time being with them."
As for meeting some of the other players who were at the event, he bonded with another local star and had a chance to meet other players from around the country. It was unique in a sense to compare the style of play in their respective area, while also talking about their recruiting experiences.
"I got to hang out with Montae Nicholson from Gateway," McKenzie said. "He's from the area. Me and him, we're real close. We talk a lot. I got to meet my roommate, he was from Tennessee. His name is Josh Malone. We got to meet some other athletes.
"They heard my stats when I told them, and they were amazed. They said, 'you must go to a 5A school,' and I said, 'No.' Were only 2A. I was talking with guys that played for 7A schools or 8A schools. Their experience is probably a lot different than mine."
Last year, McKenzie rushed for over 2,700 yards and 42 touchdowns, averaging over 12 yards a carry. He earned first-team all-conference and all-state honors, helping his team to a 12-1 record.
He recapped his recent trip to Virginia Tech, which took place over the weekend.
"I just got back from Virginia Tech," McKenzie said. "Virginia Tech was real good. It's a football town. The people are real nice. I have a good relationship with the coaches. I'm going to keep in contact with them. I was only there for a day, and had a good time."
McKenzie will visit Pitt on Friday. He's already been there for a junior day and a spring practice. It's also a no-brainer that he'll be at Pitt's home-opener against Florida State on September 2; both schools in his top five.
"I think I'm going to make it down there on Friday, they want me to come down on Friday," McKenzie said. "Basically, just to get around the campus more, get to know the coaches more, get around some of the players. I think I'm going to head down there Friday."
The start of the 2013 season is not far off. Washington will have scrimmages with Albert Gallatin and Uniontown--both schools in a higher classification. The Little Prexies open the regular season at home against Greensburg Central Catholic on August 30.
McKenzie will also sport a new number this year, going to 5 from last year's 28. He says there's no rhyme or reason to the number 5, only that he has chosen a different number each season out of the last six seasons.
"We lost 14 seniors, but we have 13 coming back," McKenzie said. "Right now, we're just trying to build chemistry. We're getting a feel of working together, and hopefully going to get back to Heinz Field this year."