2014 Pitt Football Recruiting: Running back Shai McKenzie has Panthers in his top 15

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Local running back Shai McKenzie (Washington, PA) recently trimmed his list of potential schools down from 31 to 15. As expected, Pitt made the cut and is still up for consideration by him. Next up is a top ten list and he's expected to make the next round of cuts in May, according to this short, free article on Scout.

If you're looking for some negatives, though ... this:

"Education and depth chart," McKenzie said were two key factors. "I’m looking to see how many people are at my position. I’ll look at how good my relationship is with the coaches. The area doesn’t really matter. It’s basically just the best fit."

Pitt is fine when it comes to the education part. But two things of note there -

First, the depth chart is mentioned as one of his considerations. This could be a bit tricky. If Rushel Shell decides to stick around, he could hold down the starting spot in the backfield for the next three seasons. The last two would cut into McKenzie's time potentially. Lots of things in play here, though. Shell could leave after his junior season for the NFL Draft, of course. Heck, he may not even be around next week. He also could get beaten out by McKenzie, but as a junior, you figure Shell would be pretty entrenched as long as he keeps improving. We also don't know what other running backs Pitt could land in the 2014 class and with the position being a bit light, you can bet they'll be looking at a few.

Lots of questions there, but if Shell remains at Pitt through the recent transfer rumors, McKenzie will have to consider how that may cut into his early playing time.

The other important thing he said was that the area doesn't matter. That could be a blow to Pitt, no doubt banking on the fact that he would want to stay close to home. Just how much that matters to McKenzie is unknown, but if the area isn't a big factor, Pitt loses one of the few advantages they have over the bigger programs in competition for his services.

One place he seems quite enamored with is Georgia. This is a paid ESPN link, so I won't delve into the article too much. But in a nutshell, McKenzie seems to love Georgia. Here's another paid ESPN article that talks about him being very interested in Florida State as well. In other words, Pitt will have plenty of stiff competition for him.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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