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June 11, 2013
Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
CHICAGO -- In the wake of the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour, there were several players who made waves more than they calmed the waters.
Gladewater (Texas) High defensive tackle Daylon Mack was among them.
The 6-foot, 316-pound prospect entered the event as one of the few juniors to earn an invitation after dominating the Dallas stop of the regional camp series; with a chance to put a stamp on the top spot for his position in the next class. He left with mixed reviews -- both from himself and from outsiders.
"My goal was to win Defensive Line MVP, and that didn't happen," Mack said. "I think I did pretty good, but it wasn't what I wanted."
It wasn't what Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell had hoped for, either.
"The class of 2015 just doesn't appear to have the clear-cut top players yet," he said. "After Daylon dominated in Dallas, I think the expectations were elevated, and his performance made it more confusing from a rankings perspective.
"I wanted to see someone have a this-is-the-guy performance, and I don't think he had that. It isn't a knock because he still held his own, but I don't think anyone is coming away from this saying that he is a sure-fire No. 1 kid in Texas or even a sure-fire five-star guy.
"He didn't have the size that everyone has been accustomed to seeing from that No. 1 defensive tackle. He came in a little shorter than we expected, but he still has time to grow and develop."
Mack measured just over 6-foot and closer to 320 pounds -- at 316.6 -- than his expected 310. He said it was the extra-cheese pizza he had from local favorite Timothy O'Toole's the night before with his family.
He displayed a good mix of moves but also youthful limitations.
"Daylon is an athletic kid who is very big and strong," Farrell said. "I think that he is used to overpowering kids, and in Chicago he ran into players who are bigger and stronger than he is used to.
"He had success when he was using his moves, but he needs to develop more of them."
Mack is a dual-sport athlete who is a standout baseball player. At one point, his father thought that Daylon would choose the diamond over the gridiron as a .325 hitter with solid power as a first basemen.
It is now fairly clear that his future is in football.
"I like baseball and it is cool, but I have to play my way out of Gladewater and it is football that will help me with that," Mack said.
Rumors circulated at the event that Mack was ready to commit to the Aggies but did not have his mother's blessing yet.
"Texas A&M is way out in front," Mack said. "Way, way out in front."
He is the latest in the line of elite prospects who seems to be choosing the up-and-coming Aggies over the traditional choice of many, the Texas Longhorns.
Mack said he didn't feel pressure to pick either of the programs and that he wants to stay within the state.
"I don't really feel anything like that," he said. "I want to be close enough to home, so staying in Texas was my plan.
"I don't worry too much about the outside expectations. I came here to compete and see how I stacked up with guys across the country, and when I am ready to make my college decision I will do that, too. I don't let what other people do or say affect me."
Mack carries a 3.5 grade point average and should have no issues with qualifying for the program he chooses.
Farrell said the skills Mack showed over the weekend project to success on the field as well.
"I think he will be a strong, zero-technique run stopper at the next level," Farrell said. "There have been plenty of successful players who don't have the traditional build of [Florida DL] Sharrif Floyd or Andrew Brown, but with his quickness and speed he should be a solid player."
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