Will the suspension of Shai Mckenzie affect the Hokies?


By now most of you are already aware of the suspension of talented Hokie running back Shai Mckenzie.  For those of you not aware Shai Mckenzie was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday by the team.  As the Roanoke times reported Mckenzie was charged with delinquency of a minor.  The charges are very troubling for a very talented young man.  The question is, how the possible loss of Shai Mckenzie will hurt the Hokies as they head into spring practice, as well as the upcoming season?

There is no doubt in any Hokie fans mind how much Mckenzie could have helped the sometimes struggling Hokie offense.  Mckenzie at the beginning of the season was a huge part of the Hokie ground game.  He along with Marshawn Williams combined to be a fantastic duo in the backfield.  Mckenzie’s season tragically was cut short by a knee injury.

More from Virginia Tech Football

Shai Mckenzie was going to be counted on to shoulder the load in the backfield, as the coaches no doubt hoped to rekindle the two headed monster in the backfield from the start of last year’s season.  Even without McKenzie I believe this is possible.  The Hokies are extremely deep at the running back position.  The emergence of JC Coleman, who was thrust into duty with all the backfield injuries just proves the depth of the Hokie backfield.

The fact is there is no telling where Mckenzie might have fallen on the depth chart.  As I said before the Hokies have excellent depth at the running back position.  Mckenzie could have been the number one back, or just been struggling to get field time in blow out games.  His status would have all depended on the performance of the other featured backs.  I look for Marshawn Williams, JC Coleman and Trey Edmonds to all compete for carries with the absence of Shai Mckenzie.

More from Fighting Gobbler

Another reason the Hokies might be able to absorb the loss of Mckenzie, is the fact he was not expected to participate in spring practice.  As a result of his knee injury, Mckenzie was rehabbing his knee in the winter, but was expected to be very limited in spring practice.   Along with Mckenzie, Marshawn Williams is going to miss spring practice, which will give the Hokies more opportunities to develop the talent farther down the depth chart.

The one issue that might trouble the Hokies is, this is the second Hokie starter to be arrested this offseason.  Bucky Hodges was arrested earlier in the year for an alcohol offense.  Frank Beamer runs a very clean program, where the players typically do not have any problems with the police.  These two arrests are hopefully not the start of a trend.  It is a very sad situation for Shai Mckenzie and hopefully the issue will be resolved, and he will be able to continue his college career.  Whether that career continues with the Hokies is yet to be seen.