Notre Dame still matters to 2016 WR recruit Austin Mack
Greeted by his recruiter and a friend, Austin Mack received some good-natured ribbing about his consideration of Michigan while on his Notre Dame visit.
After the Irish rolled over the Wolverines 31-0 on Saturday, the junior wide receiver recruit spoke with defensive line coach Mike Elston and fellow Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers product Jaylon Smith.
“After the game, he and coach Elston made a smart comment,” Mack said. “They were like, ‘Oh, you're still looking at Michigan now, huh?’ Just giving me a hard time.”
The Wolverines offered Mack a little more than a week before the Irish in June, but Mack’s connection to Notre Dame is strong. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Mack visited Notre Dame for two games last season, and he plans to return for a second Notre Dame game this season in October when the Irish host Stanford.
Saturday’s game experience topped Mack’s previous visits for last year’s Oklahoma and USC games.
“It was pretty nice because of the whole rivalry thing,” Mack said. “It was warm out. I remember the USC game, and I didn't think it was as hype as it was this weekend. It was just different. All those die-hard Notre Dame fans were going nuts because they beat Michigan 31-0.”
Mack also spent time talking to fellow 2016 recruiting target Malik Henry, one of Notre Dame’s top quarterback recruits. Having the chance to play with a five-star prospect like Henry could play a role in Mack’s eventual decision.
“You definitely want to go with a good quarterback from any school in your class,” Mack said. “You want to start that relationship early. It will play a role. He's definitely someone you'd want on your team.”
Mack will spend many weekends this fall visiting colleges. In addition to a return trip to Notre Dame, Mack has plans to visit Ohio State for its game against Cincinnati and Northwestern when it hosts Nebraska. He’s certain more visits will pop up as the weeks progress.
“Right now I'm just enjoying the process and leaving everything even,” Mack said. “I'm not trying to give any hints or have a list. I just keep everything to myself. I know what I'm liking right now.”
The four-star prospect doesn’t plan on making a decision until after his junior season, which already has three games in the books. Mack caught 11 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns in his first three games. Watch highlights of Mack's junior season here.
His eventual commitment will come at the Redefining Athletic Standards camp in June at Trine University in Angola, Ind. It’s the same place where Smith announced his commitment to Notre Dame in 2012.
Plenty of signs point to Mack leaning toward the Irish, but he’s not willing to admit any advantages. He wants to continue to visit other schools and field more offers as the process plays itself out.
“Going into these visits, I come in with a different perspective,” Mack said. “Last year, I was super geeked on the whole thing when going to the games and taking it all in. Now I'm more mature about the whole situation. I'm looking at the whole offense, how Notre Dame does this or that. I'm just trying to keep everything even."
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