Impact of Shai McKenzie’s Season-Ending Torn ACL in RIght Knee


Sep 27, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies running back Shai McKenzie (22) scores a touchdown during the third quarter against the Western Michigan Broncos at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies were able to end their losing streak this weekend as they defeated the Western Michigan Broncos 38-17. The Hokies did have one major negative and that involved Shai McKenzie as the freshman picked up what was an unknown injury during the game. The news got worse when the freshman announced and the Hokies confirmed the severity of the injury.

Firstly, we would like to say that we hope for a speedy recovery for Shai McKenzie as he recovers from this torn ACL.

McKenzie tore the same ACL just over 12 months ago so this definitely is going to be a concern going forward. However, athletes have returned to competitive action after tearing an ACL once including Robert Griffin III. However, McKenzie has a long road to recovery ahead but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the freshman comes back even stronger.

McKenzie should be healthy in time for fall practice which will give him the chance to get back into the flow right before the season starts. However, McKenzie will probably have some work to do to climb back up the depth chart but he’ll be ready for the challenge.

Something very unfortunate is the fact that McKenzie will almost certainly not be able to receive a medical hardship redshirt due to the fact that he has played in five games and the cutoff is 4. Of course, the Hokies will likely check and see if it’s possible but McKenzie will likely only have three more years of eligibility.

McKenzie’s injury does mean that Marshawn Williams will be the full-time starter and will look to take advantage. Williams had his best game of the season against the Broncos and next week against North Carolina will be a better chance to prove how good he is. Williams will probably be someone who gets around 20 to 25 carries a game now and he is built like someone who can handle that.

Trey Edmunds has been getting more playing time over the last couple of weeks and should become the number 2 back behind Williams with McKenzie’s injury. Edmunds has been productive on the few carries he has had and can definitely push Williams. I expect Edmunds to get around 10 carries against North Carolina and that could increase if he plays well.

Edmunds can also provide some of the explosiveness and speed that McKenzie was able to give the Hokies on some plays. J.C. Coleman could also gain some carries though Coleman just doesn’t have the strength to be used as one of the top two backs now that McKenzie is out.

Shai McKenzie’s injury is disappointing but the Hokies have the talent at running back where they should be fine for the rest of the season.