Class of 2015 prospect Michael Mack (Steilacoom, Wash./Steilacoom) called it a “blessing.”
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound running back and linebacker understands what it meant to be invited to Washington’s junior day Feb. 9.
A sophomore playing at a Class 2A high school, Mack knew it was a special opportunity to get an early invitation to check out a Division I program.
“I’m very thankful that, as a sophomore, I get the chance to do that,” Mack said.
After attending the event, Mack called the experience “amazing.”
“They have a beautiful campus,” he said. “The tour was really good, and the coaches were just positive. They have a lot of energy, and that excited me.”
Mack spent most of his time among the running backs and was impressed by Washington assistant Jordan Paopao, the program’s tight ends coach who also works with fullbacks.
“He was great,” Mack said. “He showed that, if you want to play, you have to want it really bad. He just had that type of energy and I liked that.”
Playing for Steilacoom, Mack competes down the street from perennial football power Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes, which consistently produces Division I talent.
“We just want to make a name for ourselves, show that we have a program that is good enough to play at the next level, prove that Lakes isn’t the only program in the area that has a good football program,” Mack said. “It just motivates my team and I to keep pushing, show that we have what it takes, that we have the athletes.”
Mack said he looks up to Eastern Washington receiver Greg Herd, a Steilacoom grad who just finished his senior season. Mack wants to be the program's next prospect to play at the next level.
“It would mean a lot, just to set a foundation, just to show that Steilacoom does have athletes,” Mack said. “I look up to Greg Herd. He’s making a name for himself right now, just to show that Steilacoom High School has what it takes. It would be great for myself to be able to earn a D-I scholarship.”
Washington is the only school that has expressed interest so far. Mack plans to attend the Huskies’ Rising Stars Camp in June and is looking at other college camps, as well. He is doing all the right things but isn’t satisfied.
“I feel like I am, but I feel like I can work harder, keep my head in the classroom, just keep my grades up, work hard and stay humble with my team,” he said.