High school notebook: Colleges still after McKenzie despite season-ending injury
September 17, 2013 8:45 AM
Washington running back Shai McKenzie has lost the remainder of his high school football career, but not his college scholarship offers.
By Mike White Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The most heavily recruited running back in the WPIAL will not play again this season because of a torn ACL in his knee, but the injury apparently won't scare away any college recruiters.
Washington star Shai McKenzie found out Monday morning he has a torn anterior cruiciate ligament in his right knee. He was injured in the game Friday night against Charleroi and will have surgery, possibly this Friday.
McKenzie, a senior who ended his career with nearly 5,000 yards rushing, has scholarship offers from colleges across the country. He had narrowed his list to Pitt, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Arkansas. Coaches from all those schools told McKenzie they still want him.
"I have talked to every one of those schools on his [final] list," said Washington coach Mike Bosnic. "They haven't changed their position at all. Absolutely, they still want him. ... Nowadays, this type of injury isn't that rare and, if you do what you need to do, you can come back even better than before."
McKenzie had rushed for 650 yards in three games this season and was averaging 18.1 yards a carry. He finished his career with 4,656 yards, 15th-best in WPIAL history.
Bosnic said Washington will use a few different halfbacks in McKenzie's place.
"The thing is you never replace a talent like Shai, and we're not expecting anyone to replace him," Bosnic said. "But we have a great tradition of athletes and we're going to keep playing and getting better.
"When you put on a Wash High uniform there is a certain mystique about it. At the same time, I'm pretty upset about it. I feel bad for the school and community because he's the type of talent that doesn't come around very often. We knew eventually we'd have to move on without him, but we just didn't expect it to happen right now.
"I think he's upset because he's realizing his career at Wash High has come to an end. But he has to be somewhat excited what the future holds for him, too."
• The WPIAL Board of Control Monday ruled Billy Hipp ineligible to compete in basketball this season, claiming he transferred from Bishop McCort in Johnstown to Greensburg Central Catholic at least partly for athletic reasons.
Hipp is a talented 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 14 points a game last season and has played AAU basketball for a team that was coached by Greensburg Central Catholic coach Greg Bisignani. Also, Bisignani's son, Colin, played on those teams.
Hipp is expected to appeal the decision to the PIAA.
This is the second time in the past two years that a transfer to Greensburg Central has come into question because the player was on Bisignani's AAU team. Two years ago, Brian Graytok transferred from Latrobe to Greensburg Central but was ruled eligible by the WPIAL.
• Mallory Claybourne, a receiver-defensive back, was ruled eligible to play at Sto-Rox. He attended Perry and Renaissance Christian Academy before moving to the Sto-Rox district.
• Tyler Beatrice transferred from Blackhawk to Central Valley after last football season, and this past spring the WPIAL ruled Beatrice eligible to play. But Central Valley has informed the WPIAL that new evidence has been found on Beatrice's transfer and the WPIAL will have a hearing Wednesday with Central Valley.
• The WPIAL also will have an eligibility hearing Wednesday with Khalil Caracter, who attended Freedom last year but transferred to Beaver Falls for this school year. Caracter rushed for 714 yards last season at Freedom.