Soon-to-be Hoosier Deonte Mack was watching Saturday's Indiana-Illinois game and he liked what he was seeing – and hearing.
What the 6-3, 270-pound defensive tackle form Elkhart Central H.S. saw was a convincing 36-13 win for the Hoosiers, a victory that moved the team's record to 4-1. What he heard from the game's announcers was the sort of talk that's been foreign when it comes to Indiana football.
"The commentators were talking about bowl games, which Indiana hasn't been to since 1993," said Mack. "They said the team has been gelling, and that there's a lot of talent. Things are working well and the team is looking good so far."
The same can be said about Indiana's football recruiting class, which now stands at 12. While Mack's commitment is the latest to go public, the defensive standpoint said he actually verbally committed to IU Sept. 29. He was also receiving interest from a handful of MAC schools as well as Illinois.
"I was down there a couple of times over the summer, and I got along real well with the coaches," said Mack, who was recruited by IU Assistant Head Coach Bill Lynch and co-Defensive Coordinator Brian George. "They said they liked my style. The relationship was built over a couple of months, and now I'm a Hoosier."
Interest was beginning to intensify for Mack, who said Indiana was the only school to officially extend a scholarship offer. But two other programs told him this week that they were preparing to extend an offer, and he informed them he had already committed to Indiana.
The offensive and defensive lines have been a top recruiting priority for the Hoosiers with the 2006 class, and Mack figures prominently in IU's plans on the defensive front. He said the staff has said he could wind up playing either of the defensive tackle positions.
"Coach George said my primary position will be defensive tackle, but they said with my versatility and foot speed they can use me at nose tackle as well," said Mack.
While Mack is a bit of an unknown, his productivity and potential impressed the Indiana coaching staff. Now, Mack is working toward making sure he's ready to make a contribution to the Hoosiers as soon as the staff calls on him to do so.
"He told me ‘we like everything about you and we want you coming here prepared to play,'" said Mack. "Ever since then, I've been working hard in the weight room, getting myself together. I know they are graduating three seniors, and they don't have a lot of experience at defensive tackle. They have experience on the edge. I'm going to try to do my best to work for some playing time."
Once he does arrive in Bloomington and sees the field, he's excited about the opportunity to help an Indiana program that is already showing plenty of progress on the field. That progress, and the promise of continued success, was a big attraction for Mack.
"You want to go to a winning program and build a winning tradition," said Mack. "Coach Hep is a good coach and very intense. He keeps things going. He's the kind of coach you want to be around, I really like him."
Mack Talks About IU Commitment
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