Projected to compete for immediate playing time for head coach David Cutcliffe as a slot linebacker, Mackey admits one of the major draws for Duke was a chance to shine as a true freshman.
"I am not going in there to be laid back or to say 'go ahead and just redshirt me'. I am going in ready to work hard and earn a lot of time as a true freshman."
Despite lacking what many experts consider ideal height for the position, Mackey says he's not going to let such bias slow him down.
"The coaches know that there's more to it than height. They talked to be about being able to play fast and I can do that. I run a consistent 4.5 forty, but did run a couple of 4.4's this summer at the different combines and camps. If you can run and hit, you can play the game."
Mackey informed the Duke coaches of his decision earlier this week, but elected to keep the announcement quiet so that he could inform the Tulane coaches.
"I knew when I visited with Coach Cutcliffe and Coach Collins this week that I was going to Duke, but I wanted to let Tulane know and my coached asked me to wait until later to announce. I called my coach at Tulane and he said we'd talk about it later, but he never called back."
As a senior Mackey earned 1st Team Class 5A All-State and MVP honors on the defensive side of the ball by recording 103 tackles, 5 sacks & 13 tackles for loss.