Outside Linebacker/Defensive Rush End
University of Buffalo Bulls
Fort Pierce, Florida
Westwood High School
Lots of major college recruiters are regretting that they did not pursue the Bulls' outstanding rush end during his senior season at Westwood High School. Most of his opponents felt the wrath from that slight, as Mack would go on to tie the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision modern day record with 75.0 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. His hard-hitting style of play also benefitted the Buffalo offense, as he established another major college all-time record by causing 16 fumbles.
Among active major college players, Mack leads that group with his tackle-for-loss and caused fumble totals. His average of 1.56 tackles-for-loss per game not only led the active players, but rank ninth in NCAA history. His 62.0 solo tackles behind the line of scrimmage topped the active performers, along with his tackle-for-loss yardage figure (356). He ranks fourth with 25.0 solo sacks, 28.5 total sacks (seventh on the Mid-American Conference all-time record list) and third with sack-lost yardage totals of 217 yards.
The hybrid rush end/linebacker draws favorable comparisons to Green Bay Packers standout, Clay Matthews, as both are self-made, hard-working performers, whether it is in the training room, practice field or game gridiron. He commands respect from teammates and opponents alike, and performs like a coach on the field, as he has high intelligence and excellent read-&-react diagnostic skills.
Mack is best when allowed to roam the field, as his high amount of turnovers caused and stops behind the line of scrimmage is proof positive that he is equally comfortable playing off the line and covering receivers in the short area, as he is when rushing the passer, whether coming off the edge as a pass rusher or bull rushing up the middle from the defensive tackle position.
Those recruiters that missed out of securing Mack for their college were perhaps not impressed with the Westwood High School product who received just a two-star recruit mark from recruiting services. The first-team All-Area and third-team All-State selection in football-rich Florida helped lead the Panthers to the district title as a senior. He recorded 140 tackles with nine sacks, a total of 13 stops behind the line of scrimmage, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 2008.
Mack decided to accept a scholarship offer from the University of Buffalo, citing the campus environment and the new coaching staff for the reason he signed his national letter-of-intent on February 4th, 2009. He would redshirt as a scout team outside linebacker that season, but emerged from 2010 camp as the team's starting rush end/strong-side linebacker. He finished third on the team with 68 tackles, pacing the Bulls while ranking second in the Mid-American Conference with 14.5 stops-for-loss.
The Freshman All-American spent more time at outside linebacker than in the trenches as a redshirt sophomore in 2011. He earned All-MAC first-team accolades, delivering 65 tackles with 4.5 sacks, leading the conference with 20.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, which rank as the third-best season total in school history. His five forced fumbles that campaign are tied for second on the Bulls' annual record chart.
A little "skirmish" with a teammate in the locker room saw Mack sit out the Georgia game, but in 11 other 2012 starting assignments, Mack delivered a team-high 94 tackles, picking up All-MAC and All-American honors. His 21.0 stops-for-loss led the league and ranked fourth nationally, in addition to taking over the second spot on the school season-record list. He also caused four more fumbles, fourth-best in a season by a Bull.
As a senior, Mack was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American, putting together a stellar final campaign. For the second-straight year, he led the Bulls with a career-high 100 tackles. His 10.5 sacks led the MAC and were good for 15th in the nation, as he also led the league with 19 stops behind the line of scrimmage, causing five fumbles in the process. He also intercepted three passes, returning two for touchdowns.
Mack received an invitation to close out his college career in Mobile, Ala., as a member of the 2014 Senior Bowl roster, but declined to concentrate on performing at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. He did more than impress teams with his performance in Indianapolis – he dazzled them. Mack's 4.65-second 40-yard dash was fourth-best for all linebackers attending the event.
Mack was second among the 2014 linebackers and ninth among all players at his position attending the Combine for the last decade with a 40-inch vertical jump. His broad jump of 10'-08" was also second among this year's linebacker crop and seventh-best for the position players in the last 10 years.
Mack started all 48 games that he appeared in for Buffalo, recording 327 tackles (186 solos) that included 28.5 sacks for minus 217 yards, 75.0 stops for losses totaling 356 yards and 31 quarterback pressures…Caused 16 fumbles and recovered three others, as he gained 148 yards with two touchdowns via four interceptions and deflected 21 other tosses.