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FSU's sincerity impresses McKenzie

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Washington (Pa.) four-star running back Shai McKenzie took his first official visit this past weekend. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound back traveled to Florida State, arriving early on Friday.

“It was pretty good,” McKenzie said. “I got down there and met up with my host. I got to my room. Then I went on the tour and stuff. Overall, it was a good visit.”

During the visit, McKenzie spent a good bit of time with Florida State junior running back James Wilder Jr.

“He just really enjoys it basically,” McKenzie said about what Wilder told him. “He told me that him and (Devonta) Freeman could be leaving after this year, so it is a good opportunity for myself to come in and play early.”

A majority of his visit was spent dealing with the Florida State staff. McKenzie shared a lot of insight about his thoughts on the Seminole staff.

“At this point, I can tell which coaches are sincere with me and Florida State is a really sincere team,” McKenzie said. “Overall, their coaches are people I respect. Everything they say, I know it isn’t BS. I respect Florida State a lot.”

Running backs coach Jay Graham paid a good bit of attention to McKenzie.

“I talked to Coach Graham a lot,” McKenzie said. “It was interesting to me, because there were a lot of recruits there, that he talked to me as much as he could. He showed a lot of interest.”

Area recruiter Sal Sunseri has been the primary recruiter for McKenzie throughout the process.

“I’ve dealt the most with Sal,” McKenzie said. “I’ve been dealing with him for a few months. We have a pretty good relationship.”

During his visit, McKenzie had a lengthy conversation with head coach Jimbo Fisher which made a major impression on him.

“Coach Fisher was talking about how they are second in the nation right now,” McKenzie said. “He also asked me if I had sincere interest in Florida State. He said they have a sincere interest in me. He told me they have a need at running back.

“That was definitely something that got my attention,” McKenzie added. “You know you are a priority when a top school like that tells you that. I was very happy to hear the good news from him and how interested he really sincerely is. I feel like I have a real good relationship with him as well.”

His official visit marked the second time McKenzie has checked out Tallahassee. He also visited back in June.

“I spent the weekend there before and then this official visit,” McKenzie said. “I’ve gotten the tour twice. I got to see a lot more this time around. I am definitely very comfortable with the place. I liked everything about it. It is a good place to be in.”

In addition to Florida State, McKenzie is also considering Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech. McKenzie will officially visit the Hokies on Nov. 15th. He will see Pittsburgh on Dec. 6th and Georgia Tech on Dec. 12th.

His top four is all even, according to McKenzie.

“No order,” McKenzie said. “I don’t have a leader.”

As for a decision, he shared the timeframe he will take after his final official in mid-December.

“I will probably take a little time to do more research after those visits and then I will make my final decision on like January 6th,” McKenzie said. “I am an early enrollee. So I am leaving once I make the decision. When I make my decision, it won’t be where I look back or decommit, once I decide I am packing my bags and I am going.”

McKenzie is recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee. He said his rehab is going very well and he feels he is ahead of schedule for a return to the field. ranks McKenzie as the No. 236 prospect in the Top247. He is considered the No. 16 running abck in the nation and No. 4 prospect from Pennsylvania.

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