Return of the Mack
The story of how linebacker Khalil Mack went from unrecruited nobody to certified superstar
Published: Friday, August 30, 2013
Updated: Saturday, August 31, 2013 18:08
Here is one play through Mack’s eyes. The setting: Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, versus Western Michigan at UB Stadium. First quarter. WMU ball. Third and 5. 7-0 Bulls.
Before the play, I’m gonna sweep through if [Steven Means] doesn’t beat me there. I’m going to strip him, and I’m going to pray that Steve gets the ball because I’m not even going to look to see if I can get it.
I looked up, and I knew the lineman wasn’t going to get lower than me. He was like a little fat guy, a little fat left tackle. He’s not fast enough! I’m going to get him! Then I dipped and came free and grabbed the quarterback’s arm.
Mack sacked quarterback Alex Carder and forced a fumble.
Ashmon calls Mack the smartest player he has ever coached. That’s not just an on-the-field attribute.
When he finished high school, Mack had earned a full academic presidential scholarship offer from Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Fla. His major at UB is psychology, and he wants to pursue sports psychology after football.
Mack has fulfilled Ashmon's prophecy that he would become one of the most elite players in the nation.
A July USA Today headline posed the question, "Is Buffalo's Khalil Mack the best player you haven't seen?"
But before a legend developed and there was hype and a fight and records within reach and NFL attention, there was just a redshirt freshman linebacker. He was ranked 46 overall in NCAA Football 2010, and that bothered him. He had been passed up by Urban Meyer and Florida State and every other Division I program, too.
He hasn’t forgotten about that. He still feels the need to prove himself.
“I don’t think I’ll ever lose that,” Mack said.