The state's top 10 prospects: No. 9 Ryan Mack, Wooddale

Memphis lineman drawn to Louisville

Ryan Mack doesn’t mince words.

“Louisville,” the offensive lineman from Wooddale High School in Memphis said flatly when asked which school stands out among his suitors.

And what does he like about the Cardinals?

To start, the 6-foot-4, 317-pounder believes he can start — or at least play as a freshman.

He also likes the environment and education he can receive at Louisville.

Cardinal coaches also have convinced Mack that he will play offensive tackle in college, which is probably still up for debate among some college recruiters.

“Louisville said I will play tackle because I have the length of a 6-7 player,” said Mack, who is the News Sentinel’s ninth best prospect in the state.

Long arms give Mack the length that a tackle must have.

A strong junior season in 2009 has given him plenty of confidence. Two back-to-back performances last fall still stand out.

The first came in a win against Houston when Mack’s focus went far behind opposing defensive linemen.

“I was blocking linebackers 20 and 30 yards down the field,” Mack recalled.

A week later, Mack’s Wooddale team beat Ridgeway High School, which leaned on superstar defensive end Justin Maclin, who eventually signed with LSU in February as one of the top 2010 prospects in the southeast.

“Against Ridgeway, I went against an LSU commitment and I felt like I did really well against him,” Mack said.

So what did those performances do for Mack’s confidence?

“It boosted it real high,” he said.

That confidence is still present.

“I’m a good pass blocker and a good run blocker, but I’m still trying to work to get better,” he said. “I can get to the next level — to the linebacker and the safety. That’s real easy.”

The performance against Maclin also gave Mack some fantastic highlights to send to recruiters. That has resulted in scholarship offers from Louisville, Kentucky, Memphis, Southern Miss, Arkansas State and UT-Martin.

Mack is also hearing from several other schools, including Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and West Virginia.

An offer from the in-state Vols isn’t a certainty, but if it comes along, Mack would welcome it.

“It’s a good school,” said Mack, who will visit UT for the Vols’ next football camp in mid-July. “They’ve got a new coach (Derek Dooley) and I’m looking for some good things going on.”

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Comments » 27

DaddyVol writes:

Best of luck young man!

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

"Louisville."

Damn Charlie Strong.

Keep 'em in-state, guys!!

CroKev writes:

Rivals has him as a 3-star (5.6) and Scout as a 2 (pos. rank). Following is a highlight video of his play:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NKfyp...
With that said, I'd really like to encourage Dave H. and KNS to supply that kind of info. for us (Is there something prohibiting the supply of that kind of info. that I'm just not aware of?).
Also, I want to say thanks to Hooker and KNS for this series of articles - "Top 10 In-state Recruit list." This is interesting stuff and you should keep it up. BTW, how did you arrive at the ranking (Rivals has Mack as #6 and Scout as #14)?

AtopTheHill06 writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

oh you are so mistaken. why would memphis kids be JEALOUS? The much better talent is clearly in memphis/Shelby County. East Tennessee sports isnt even an afterthought to memphis sports fans. BTW is see that Rutherford County edumakacion is workin out. (Jealouse- Nice)

mcgink2 writes:

in response to CroKev:

Rivals has him as a 3-star (5.6) and Scout as a 2 (pos. rank). Following is a highlight video of his play:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NKfyp...
With that said, I'd really like to encourage Dave H. and KNS to supply that kind of info. for us (Is there something prohibiting the supply of that kind of info. that I'm just not aware of?).
Also, I want to say thanks to Hooker and KNS for this series of articles - "Top 10 In-state Recruit list." This is interesting stuff and you should keep it up. BTW, how did you arrive at the ranking (Rivals has Mack as #6 and Scout as #14)?

OMG! He is only 3 stars from Rivals. We shouldn't be recruiting him!!! LOL...
I get so tired of everybody's immediate reaction about the number of stars somebody has from Rivals and Scout.. Who cares? Do you really think coaches just look at Rivals and Scout and decide who they should offer scholarships to? I'm pretty sure schools recruited and built powerhouse programs before Rivals and Scout ever existed...

CroKev writes:

in response to mcgink2:

OMG! He is only 3 stars from Rivals. We shouldn't be recruiting him!!! LOL...
I get so tired of everybody's immediate reaction about the number of stars somebody has from Rivals and Scout.. Who cares? Do you really think coaches just look at Rivals and Scout and decide who they should offer scholarships to? I'm pretty sure schools recruited and built powerhouse programs before Rivals and Scout ever existed...

MNVol, you missed the point my friend. I didn't say anything about not recruiting the guy! I'm just providing info (rankings and video) that I think KNS writers should be providing. Furthermore, yes, EVERYONE knows that powerhouse programs existed before ranking services. The rankings basically tell you about a kids' athletic ability. Yes, college camps give you a better idea of the athlete just as the NFL combine does but think about it; who cares what a lineman's 40-yard dash speed is (or for that matter, a running back! The average pickup for a great RB is 4 or 5 yards and they will rarely have runs of 40 yards or more). The point is colleges and the NFL want to know about the "athletic ability" of a player. They ALSO want to know what's between his ears and that's why the NFL employs a host of phychologists and put potential draft picks through a battery of tests. On the college level they do that in a more informal way -talks with his coach, visits his parents, talks with him during his campus visits, etc.
It really is silly to ignore the qualities that are consistently found in college All-Americans. If we took your approach to its logical end, we wouldn't listen to ranking services, sportswriters, coaches, or even word on the street. We would simply base all our decisions on how we "feel" about a kid. Of course, I know you're not saying that and neither am I saying don't recruit 3 star players. But come on, you cannot completely ignore the people who earn a living evaluating talent.

chrisforliberty#209518 writes:

"The performance against Maclin also gave Mack some fantastic highlights to send to recruiters. That has resulted in scholarship offers from Louisville, Kentucky, Memphis, Southern Miss, Arkansas State and UT-Martin."

But not Florida, USC, or Alabama. Nonetheless, playing football (or any sport) is basically the same regardless of where you eventually chose to go to college. If college coaches are making recruiting decisions solely on the basis of highlight reels or rankings from Rivals, then you are already getting off on the wrong foot. It would be no different than NFL scouts or G.M.'s relying on Mel Kiper or anyone else as to whom they should pick.

I'm not saying the magazines and what not are bad or wrong. It is just that recruiting and drafting have been around much longer than the magazines that cover these topics have been. I see no reason why they should deviate from the process that works solely to appease someone who reads some ranking that Rival or Scout put up.

OrangePride writes:

You know, this fixation on stars or which other schools are interested in an athelete is short-sighted. We have had a BUNCH of four and five star folks in here who have done zip, nada, nothing for the program........I don't even have to mention names, we all know them. This staff knows the system they are building and what kind of player will fit that........plus, they seem to be looking for young men with good character who will come in and bleed orange. What will really be important is what this staff will do to DEVELOP the talent they bring here! IF, Dooley and this staff can do a great job in that area, and I think they can, THEN these 3 star,or even 2 star, people will be great. As for now.......we are ALL on here with the same goals and looking forward to a great season.... GBO!

volboy81 writes:

if hes good enough to play at UT, Dooley will go after him...if not, he wont. Trust in him & let CDD do his job! This "star" system is usually the personal opinion of 1 or 2 people....look back thru the last few years and theres loads of 5 star players that were complete busts and a lot of 2 and 3 star guys who were All Conference or All American. Im sure the coaches know more about recruiting than any of us who spend our time dribbling notes on a message board, so lets give Coach a chance and back him 100%!
GO VOLS!!!

mrvol2u writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A lot of a good talent from Memphis has made it's way to UT. I don't know of any UT coach that has not recruited Memphis.

That being said, Memphis is closer to about 5 SEC schools than Knoxville. Memphis has long been a tough sell for UT because of various reasons. I believe this staff will do better and start a steady flow from the western part of the state. I have long thought that a national recruiting strategy was o.k., but we tended to under recruit lessor in-state talent. I believe this staff will put the time and effort back into that area with a different evaluation standard and pull a few more Memphis area guys in. It is a process and will take time.

Just because Bama offers a guy in Memphis does not "Mean's" they will get him now that the Bama Bank Branch has closed in Memphis.

mcgink2 writes:

in response to CroKev:

MNVol, you missed the point my friend. I didn't say anything about not recruiting the guy! I'm just providing info (rankings and video) that I think KNS writers should be providing. Furthermore, yes, EVERYONE knows that powerhouse programs existed before ranking services. The rankings basically tell you about a kids' athletic ability. Yes, college camps give you a better idea of the athlete just as the NFL combine does but think about it; who cares what a lineman's 40-yard dash speed is (or for that matter, a running back! The average pickup for a great RB is 4 or 5 yards and they will rarely have runs of 40 yards or more). The point is colleges and the NFL want to know about the "athletic ability" of a player. They ALSO want to know what's between his ears and that's why the NFL employs a host of phychologists and put potential draft picks through a battery of tests. On the college level they do that in a more informal way -talks with his coach, visits his parents, talks with him during his campus visits, etc.
It really is silly to ignore the qualities that are consistently found in college All-Americans. If we took your approach to its logical end, we wouldn't listen to ranking services, sportswriters, coaches, or even word on the street. We would simply base all our decisions on how we "feel" about a kid. Of course, I know you're not saying that and neither am I saying don't recruit 3 star players. But come on, you cannot completely ignore the people who earn a living evaluating talent.

I'm not ignoring "the people who earn a living evaluating talent".. those are called COACHES. Recruiting services such as Rivals and Scout are there for entertainment, heck, why do you think Yahoo! spent millions to acquire them. If Rivals was that valuable to recruiting and they were the end-all experts, don't you think schools like Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas with huge recruiting budgets would just outsource the evaluation piece of players to Rivals and let them do the work then send a coach to offer the scholarhip? Nope, thats why coaches hit the road to evaluate the talent!

abnermc writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Memphis has produced some good players. I think Albert was from Memphis. Parole tide Parole

BigOrangeSlim writes:

This kid may only be a 3 star recruit, however we need the talent in Tennessee to play for Tennessee!!! GBO

mcgink2 writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yep.. you pretty much nailed it!!! The thing that started this thread was the reference to stars. People get so consumed by ***stars*** that they don't look at anything else. I agree that recruiting services are vital part of recruiting, but it certainly isn't the stars that coaches look at

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

uh, braniac, check your facts. metro nashville (bout 1.7 mil) is 30% greater in population than metro memphis (bout 1.3). so nashville's the biggest.

go back to alabubba and learn to count. it starts with 0......then 1......then 2.....

back to the subject. memphis should always be a priority with the staff and it will be. if the kid's good enough, they'll offer, but it appears he's in love with U of L. i don't want any kid that doesn't want us. good luck kid.

Orange_Juiced writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

For the life of me...I can't understand why some people believe such idiotic claptrap as this poster presents.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to Orange_Juiced:

For the life of me...I can't understand why some people believe such idiotic claptrap as this poster presents.

I couldn't agree with you more. We've gotten alot of good players from Memphis over the years. People in E Tenn have to understand that there are divided SEC loyalties there, and a portion of the HS players in Memphis won't give UT a look. But a portion of them will, and so we should always recruit there.

wally writes:

Who was the #10 ranked prospect?

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

in response to Down_The_Field:

uh, braniac, check your facts. metro nashville (bout 1.7 mil) is 30% greater in population than metro memphis (bout 1.3). so nashville's the biggest.

go back to alabubba and learn to count. it starts with 0......then 1......then 2.....

back to the subject. memphis should always be a priority with the staff and it will be. if the kid's good enough, they'll offer, but it appears he's in love with U of L. i don't want any kid that doesn't want us. good luck kid.

BOO YAH!

Nice one there down the field!

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Wow, like 18 1/2 hours ago and no UF agfan has tried to link this to the Gaiturs because of Strong??

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Awesome. I need to print that into a 3 foot banner and try to get it on TV during the Oregon game.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Or better yet, some Vol fan banner that and hold it up somewhere during Gameday.

bigorange61 writes:

in response to mrvol2u:

A lot of a good talent from Memphis has made it's way to UT. I don't know of any UT coach that has not recruited Memphis.

That being said, Memphis is closer to about 5 SEC schools than Knoxville. Memphis has long been a tough sell for UT because of various reasons. I believe this staff will do better and start a steady flow from the western part of the state. I have long thought that a national recruiting strategy was o.k., but we tended to under recruit lessor in-state talent. I believe this staff will put the time and effort back into that area with a different evaluation standard and pull a few more Memphis area guys in. It is a process and will take time.

Just because Bama offers a guy in Memphis does not "Mean's" they will get him now that the Bama Bank Branch has closed in Memphis.

Might surprise you to know Memphis is closer to 7 SEC schools than it is to UT.

Memphis to:

Oxford - 85.96
Starkville - 181.85
Nashville - 212.23
Tuscaloosa - 231.09
Fayetteville - 318.31
Auburn - 346.88
Baton Rouge - 382.29
Knoxville - 391.32
Lexington - 422.82
Athens - 455.96
Columbia - 597.12
Gainesville - 659.31

Alabama would be attractive in one, it's a top caliber program. Two, it's 320 miles less (round trip), for family to see him play. Not hard to see why Alabama does well in Memphis.

daniellovesutfootball writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Rich thanks for the heads up. I checked Pat Martion out,and he says that TN is wife, the other schools are his girlfriends, and that it will take a lot to divorce him from TN! He reminds me a little of Berry. Don't get me wrong, there will never be another Eric Berry, but Martin's play style is pretty impressive. Here's the link to his video if anyone is interested!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF9Dys...

Sign him please Dooley!

Go Vols!!!

UTGAMER writes:

in response to brown-bag-vol-fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Correct me if wrong, but wasn't big Dan Williams a Memphis native

Ralph_Crampton writes:

Rich ole buddy...the games coaches study on films is hard to judge...high school or any game films has one glaring fault...one cannot judge speed on the films. That has been a fly in the ointment for many coaches who jump the gun because they are impressed by game films.

mrvol2u writes:

in response to bigorange61:

Might surprise you to know Memphis is closer to 7 SEC schools than it is to UT.

Memphis to:

Oxford - 85.96
Starkville - 181.85
Nashville - 212.23
Tuscaloosa - 231.09
Fayetteville - 318.31
Auburn - 346.88
Baton Rouge - 382.29
Knoxville - 391.32
Lexington - 422.82
Athens - 455.96
Columbia - 597.12
Gainesville - 659.31

Alabama would be attractive in one, it's a top caliber program. Two, it's 320 miles less (round trip), for family to see him play. Not hard to see why Alabama does well in Memphis.

No surprise at all. I was not sure about Auburn and LSU.

My point about Alabama and Memphis recruits was that since the money pipeline has been shut down that Bama is not as of a sure lock as they might have been in the past. Hence the Mean's reference.

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