A third-team all-Florida defender his senior year of high school, Khalil Mack, now at the University of Buffalo, wound up playing Division 1 football nearly 1,300 miles away from his hometown of Fort Pierce, Florida. Now, everyone is guessing where he'll play next.
Mack is on the top of everyone's big boards and mock drafts at the moment, and could potentially give the Mid-American Conference their first back-to-back top-10 selections in some time. Could he be the second pass-rusher off the board after superstar Jadeveon Clowney? Time will tell. One thing's for sure, he's going to make an impact wherever he ends up.
The mentality that Khalil Mack brings to the field is what drives his production. His favorite part of football? “The collisions and physicality.”
One of the many chips on Mack's shoulders is the number he dons. 46. The reason he switched to the number was because his first appearance on an NCAA Football video game. The video game ranked players on a scale from 40 to 99. Khalil Mack was given a 46 overall score.
That video number looks foolish now, but every time Mack takes the field, it's like he's trying to prove his skill to us again.
A rare combination, Khalil Mack mixes both a smash-mouth mentality with an extreme athletic ability to not only rack up tackles-for-losses and sacks, but to create turnovers in the form of not only fumbles, but interceptions, too. Mack leads his Bulls in tackles, sacks, TFLs, forced fumbles, and interceptions.
After the game against Miami of Ohio, in which Khalil Mack had three forced fumbles in the first half, he became the all-time career leader in that statistic for FBS players.
There's not much left for him to prove against MAC competition. With an 8-3 record, the Bulls have a very good shot at making a bowl game, but the most important factor for Mack from here to the day his name is read at Radio City is the Senior Bowl.
Securing a Senior Bowl bid is crucial for draft prospects. It's where coaches and scouts see first-hand what a player's able to do in practice and game situations. Eric Fisher, also a MAC product, was able to parlay his senior season and great Senior Bowl week to becoming the number one overall pick in the 2013 draft.
Jon Fuller, Buffalo's Assistant Athletic Director for Communications, tweeted out on the eight of November that Mack was invited to the game in Mobile, Alabama. The big question now is if he'll attend.
With Mack's draft stock pointing up, will he shake off the invite as many top-tier senior have before, in order to avoid a “decline” in the perception of scout's eyes? On the 18th of November the Senior Bowl released the first twelve names who accepted invitations to the game. Khalil Mack appeared nowhere on the page.
No matter what Mack chooses for his path, scouts' eyes will follow.