He was receiving some early attention from programs such as NC State and Tennessee, but after his move his recruitment exploded. Following a strong performance at Hargrave's annual combine and intrasquad scrimmage, even more schools will likely jump on the nation's No. 7 defensive end prospect.
"It was exciting," said Mackey. "I'm not saying I don't think about [the coaches watching], but I just love going out there and playing."
Although Mackey will continue to listen to any program that wants to recruit him, it appears four programs stick out.
"Right now I'm looking at Virginia Tech, Florida State, NC State, North Carolina... schools like that," he said. "I would say that right now [those four lead]... for who I've been talking to."
Mackey has visits set with Florida State (12/7), NC State (1/11), and North Carolina (1/18), and maintains that he will take a visit to Virginia Tech as well.
Joining him on those three scheduled trips will be fellow four-star defensive end Quinton Coples. Is the duo looking to attend the same school?
"We talked about it," said Mackey. "But I told him that wherever he goes and we decide to go our separate ways, he's like a brother to me. We will always keep contact."
NC State appears to be in good shape. The Wolfpack recruited Mackey heavily prior to his enrollment at Hargrave, the first program to vigorously pursue him. Wolfpack defensive backs coach Mike Reed hails from Delaware, and defensive line coach Keith Willis has made an impression.
"With NC State there is Coach Willis, the relationship I have with him, and Mike Reed, he was born where I live at," said Mackey. "Coach Willis is down-to-earth. In talking with him, I feel like he's my pops. I just talk with him and can relate to him. Plus, going in there I think I can start."
Expect Mackey to honor the process. He'll take all off his visits and likely make a Signing Day decision.
"To be honest, all of those coaching staffs are great," he stated. "Between Chuck Amato, coach Willis, and coach Blake from North Carolina, I love them all. My decision will probably be based on where I feel the most comfortable at.
"I'm just taking my time with it. Me and my brother are taking it step-by-step through the recruiting process. [A decision will likely be] after I take my visits... around February. It will probably be on Signing Day."
Athletically, he is off the charts. At Hargrave's combine, Mackey posted a 4.7-second 40-yard dash, 4.34-second 20-yard shuttle, 26-inch vertical, and 14 bench reps of 225 pounds.
What will the lucky school that lands Mackey be getting? A talented athlete capable of playing defensive end, defensive tackle, offensive tackle, or offensive guard. At 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, he played much of his junior season along the offensive line but has strictly operated at defensive end for Hargrave.
"I just felt I could play defensive end," said Mackey. "I just went out and proved it at combines and stuff like that. I went to the Scout combine and I did good."