Coach Spotlight: Mack Crowder

Now on campus as a freshman in Knoxville, Mackenzie "Mack" Crowder is coming off quite a distinguished prep career at Tennessee High School in Bristol. The 6-4, 270, center had an abundant amount of accolades bestowed on him for his play on the football field. He also was equally outstanding in the classroom and even honored as Tennessee High's 2010 Homecoming King.

"Mack is a great young man," said Tennessee High head football coach Greg Stubbs. "He came to us as a junior from Sullivan Central (Blountsville, Tenn.). That year he earned the starting job at center. We won the conference, and he was named All- Northeast Tennessee."

Then came what Stubbs called a "bunch of offers" starting with Vanderbilt. Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Boston College, Kansas, South Carolina, Baylor, Duke, UCF, and Tennessee were the next teams to extend offers. However, there was one school, just down the road from Bristol, where Crowder had always hoped to play.

"Tennessee began recruiting him," said Stubbs. "They came in late, but expressed to Mack how much they were interested in him. I think the feeling was mutual. He grew up a big Tennessee fan and really liked Coach Dooley. When they offered him in July, it was the next day he accepted. I think he'd have had even more offers. Florida was interested, and I think South Florida, but he knew where it was he wanted to go."

With the commitment behind him, Crowder didn't let up. Stubbs graded him out on the line between 70-80-percent on the season with 56 pancake blocks. He anchored a Viking line which helped the running attack gain 180 yards per game. He was named All-State, All-Northeast Tennessee for a 2nd straight year, All-Conference, and All-Region. The Nashville Tennessean named him to their PrepStar 2010 Dream Team. After the season, his Viking teammates voted him team captain.

"Mack has great feet, athletic, and plays with a low center of gravity," said Stubbs. "He's got a real good punch coming off the snap. He moves very well in the hips and also runs well. He just doesn't run well for someone his size, in practice he'd run with everybody, even the skill players. He's just that athletic."

Stubbs believes big things are in store for Crowder as he tries to move up the UT depth chart and assert himself in the ever-competitive SEC.

"Mack can probably get up to 280 without losing anything," said Stubbs. "He's the type of player who never misses practice. I think he's going to do a fine job fitting in there. He's the type of player Coach Dooley is going to have to help get the program elevated back to where it was."

Crowder and Tennessee High teammate Brendan Downs graduated in December and enrolled early, so they'll get to perform in spring practice and the Orange and White game. Crowder joins his older brothers as Division 1 college football players. Michael Crowder is a offensive lineman at Princeton and Matt Crowder is a defensive end at Cornell. Their father, Mike, played at Ottawa University.

Mack Crowder

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