Return Of A Mack
by Paul Peck, Buffalo Sports Page
He owns the same last name as the school’s most famous player. He plays the same position. He shares the same blood as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
LeDarius Mack lives in the shadow of his famous brother, Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack. That’s a lot of pressure for anyone, let alone a football player who calls linebacker his position.
He could embrace that connection, and use it to his advantage. Or he could avoid it, and try to bury it like his brother buries quarterbacks.
A look at the University at Buffalo football roster gives you your answer. Not only is LeDarius Mack embracing his connection, he’s literally following in his brother’s footsteps.
Mack is a transfer linebacker on this year’s Bulls team. He’s wearing the same uniform, dressing in the same locker room, walking the same halls, and playing on the same field. The only thing different is the uniform number, #52 instead of #46.
“I’m honored to be here, honestly,” said the Vero Beach, FL native, “I feel like it’s a great opportunity. I’m gonna get after it.”
The Mack Legacy
Getting after it will mean living with a legacy of a brother who wound up at UB when no other FBS schools offered a scholarship. Getting after it means the inevitable questions and reminders. The hall outside the locker room features no less than five pictures of Khalil, who holds school records for sacks, forced fumbles and tackles for loss.
“I had to accept the facts, and I’m gonna attack it.”
That’s what the Bulls are hoping for from the player who spent his first two seasons at a junior college in Florida. At six-foot-two, 215 pounds, LeDarius is not a big as his older brother. He is competing for a role on special teams, as he settles into his first season on the squad.
“We really appreciate that he’s here,” says Bulls head coach Lance Leipold, “He’s a pleasure to have in the program. He’s a quiet young man who works extremely hard. We told him they are individual people. Our staff wasn’t here when Khalil was a player, so we don’t have any insight into Khalil’s development. So we’re going to take it a day at a time to make him the best player that he can be.”
Having a brother who’s one of the NFL’s best players is a benefit to no one other than LeDarius. He’s the only guy who’s brotherly conversations are also a talk about the brotherhood of playing linebacker.
“Every chance I get, every time when I’m around him, we’re always talking about how I can get myself better.”
LeDarius spent the last two seasons at ASA College in Miami. He was fourth on the team in tackles, and had an interception returned for a touchdown. As you can see in the clip, that’s a family trait.
LeDarius calls himself an aggressive, ball-hawking player. As he develops, the fans in Buffalo may see the Return of A Mack…..and simply say, “Oh Brother.”
To read about the next UB Bulls player who could have a chance at NFL stardom, visit T3: The Emergence.